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at and Where 
Is God 

hard La Rue Swain 














J3eto gorfe 


All rights reserved 



Set up and electrotyped. Published, October, 1920 







The foreground of this book has largely to do with the 
answering of vital questions that have sprung from the 
suffering souls of men and women with whom the author 
has been sympathetically associated. Considerable atten 
tion has been given to the natural sequence of these ques 
tions in order that the answers might form a more or less 
orderly line of discussion. While the method of answer 
ing a particular set of questions does not permit of a 
strictly logical treatment of the themes, yet in the back 
ground there is a definite and concrete picture of God, of 
the universe, and of man as he is enfolded in God s world. 

The chapters on immortality contain a further discus 
sion of God, man, and the universe as they move on in 
endless time. To know " what and where " God is, it is 
necessary to understand how man and the universe exist 
in God, and what God purposes to achieve through them. 

If we are to reach people s minds, their questions are of 
supreme importance because they show where the mind is 
focused. The average person can, as a rule, proceed no 
farther with a subject until his main difficulty is removed. 
Therefore, we have preferred the question to the natural 
division of the subject, believing that the reader would 

be able to see the logic that is beneath it all. 




The chapters on the Bible are not closely related to the 
rest of the book, but as the Scriptures contain the " speci 
fications " and " blue-prints " from God, it seemed import 
ant to include a description of how we must approach 
them if we are not to misread their spiritual content. 

Though the material of this volume has been given in 
extemporaneous addresses, yet no part of it has been re 
duced to writing until now. Its appearance in book form 
is in response to many requests. Especially helpful has 
been the encouragement of Professor Douglas Clyde 
Macintosh of Yale University who has kindly read the 
manuscript and made valuable suggestions. 

R. L. S. 

306 Golden Hill, 
Bridgeport, Conn. 




This chapter is a case study showing how false experi 
ences of religion and erroneous conceptions of God 
may result in agnosticism or atheism. 




Introduction 39 

1. What is God? 43 

2. Who is God? 48 

3. Where is God? 53 

4. What does God do ? 62 

5. If the Ancients made their gods, how do we know that 

we are not making our God? 71 

6. May we not be communing with a mere idea ? . . .73 




1. What is man? . 75 

2. Who is man? . 77 

3. Would the absence of man cripple God? .... 84 

4. What could an infinite God care for such a little speck ? 87 

5. Is not socialism the best religion there is ? . .... ,. . 90 





1. Introductory statement 104 

2. The idea of the Trinity and how it came about . . 106 

3. Was Jesus God or a good man only? 113 

4. Can modern psychology any longer believe in the 

Deity of Jesus? 116 

5. Where does Jesus belong in the religious, social and 

thought worlds? 132 

6. Can God die? 135 



A general statement 142 

1. The contagion of doubt 144 

2. The inability to make a religious use of modern 

knowledge 146 

3. The loss of a satisfying conception of the future life . 147 

4. The growing habit of classifying the future with 

things unknown and unknowable 148 

5. An inadequate conception of the kingdom of God . 150 

6. We automatically lose the assurance of the future 

when we lose the reality of the present . . .153 



How shall we find the assurance of immortality? . . .157 
i. We automatically find the assurance of the future 

when we find the reality of the present . . .157 
Some reasons why the quest for reality is not more 
frequently and earnestly undertaken. 

a. The moral failure of Christians 158 



b. Because the average Christian cannot answer 

technical questions* 159 

c. Antiquated forms irritating to sceptics . . . 162 

d. The provincialism of sceptics 164 

2. Equal striving for spiritual and material things is 

necessary 166 

3. The final step in the effort to know God 173 

4. Conscious of the existence of God, we become certain 

of immortality 176 



1. How can one live as he should? 182 

2. The difference in social service 183 

3. The difference in personal preparation 186 



1. Its relation to the present constitution of things . . 193 

2. Where is heaven? 196 

3. Will there be a Holy City? 198 

4. Will there be music? 201 

5. Shall we meet our loved ones? 201 

6. Shall we see God? 204 

7. Will there be burdens to bear in heaven? .... 205 



If the Bible contains errors, how do we know that any of 

it is true? 207 



A general statement 207 

The Method of Finding God s Word 

1. The story of Creation 212 

2. The story of the Garden 220 

3. The Bible stories in general 223 

4. The laws of Israel moral and ceremonial . . . 224 

5. The Book of Job 226 



The method of finding God s Word (Continued) 

1. The Psalms 232 

2. The prophets in general 235 

3. Jonah 241 

4. The New Testament in general 247 

5. The Book of Revelation 250 




Why does God leave His very existence in doubt by forever 
hiding Himself? 

If there were a God would He not make Himself known in 
such a way that no one could possibly doubt His existence? 

Why should we be expected to love and obey a God whose 
existence is still a subject of discussion? 

Could a righteous and loving Father leave any of His chil 
dren in doubt of His existence? 

While I was dining one day with a young minister and 
his wife, the latter disclosed to me her religious state of 
mind. Said she: 

" I have no God ! They have taken Him away and 
I do not know where to find Him. My childhood con 
ception of a Man-God on a throne in heaven is gone 
and I think rightly gone; but I have nothing to take 
its place. I hear them speak of an immanent God; of 
a God who fills all nature. And I have no objection to 
this except that it brings no relief. Nature is so inex- 



pressibly vast and complex that, to my mind, a God 
who fills all nature is so infinitely big and spread out 
that I can neither know Him nor love Him. He is al 
together too attenuated for me ; besides, this makes Him 
so much everywhere that He seems to be nowhere. Here 
I am, without a God, working myself nearly to death 
in a great Church ; and my heart is breaking for a Father 
to whom I can go, as I once did, with all my hopes and 
fears. Moreover, all my young women friends feel as 
I do. We often speak of this among ourselves without 
knowing where to turn for relief." 

The distressing experience of this ministers wife is 
more common than many think. With her type of mind 
it was inevitable that she should experience doubt while 
passing from the crude to the mature. Being bright, con 
secrated, and sincere she had simply hastened the crisis. 
That the Church is not always present to take care of 
its own passengers when they arrive at these way-stations 
is the greater pity; because representatives of various 
spiritual inns will be sure to meet every incoming train. 
And if the Church is neglectful of its spiritual pilgrims, 
it compels them to spend their night of doubt in the 
depot or on a bench in the park exposed to the tender 
mercy of religious fakers. Were the difficulties of this 
minister s wife met, it would be a great blessing to her 
and to thousands of other troubled souls ; and at the same 
time it would immeasurably enrich our common Christian 

Because of our newly acquired knowledge of the physi- 


cal universe multitudes, both without and within the 
Church, are asking what God is and where He is that they 
may find Him. 

The poverty of faith and confusion of ideas concern 
ing God were recently brought to light by Professor 
Leuba in his questionnaire. Many seem to think there 
is no place for God in their conception of the universe. 
Having no longer a satisfying idea of God, the thought of 
Him is fading from their minds. And while some re 
joice in their scepticism, others deeply regret a waning 

All this only proves that the world is over-ripe for a 
finer conception of God and His universe; and that a 
better and more definite idea must be obtained, or doubt 
will run into positive unbelief. Modern learning is 
thought by many to be particularly hard on faith. Some 
of us, however, have found the world of modern knowl 
edge more congenial to faith and much superior to the 
old unscientific world as a place in which to live the simple 
Christian life. This better vision should be given to the 
people with all possible speed. They should be taught 
to see that as boulevards and steel bridges are superior 
to mud roads and dangerous fords, so the new Christian 
highway is better than the old. Nevertheless, new knowl 
edge in certain directions does present grave difficulties 
for those who retain crude conceptions of God and er 
roneous views of His relation to the forces of nature 
that envelop us. Until we do the work that our times 
demand of us, even Christians may not hope to remain 


immune from the devastating influences of doubt. There 
is a deep cry in the modern soul that must be met. 

While our hope of knowing God rests on His imma 
nence yet the idea of immanence has not been sufficiently 
clarified to meet our practical demands. If we continue 
to teach the beautiful doctrine that God is everywhere, in 
the vague way that is now so prevalent, an ever increasing 
number will surely come to believe that He is nowhere. 

Lovingly and faithfully our mothers taught us that God 
was everywhere in all majesty and power. But it was 
different. They believed that God had a form, or 
nucleus, in heaven, and that His spirit radiated from this 
form to the remotest particles of matter in the universe. 
They also believed that when transported at death to His 
central abode they should look with rapture upon His in 
effable being. They expected to see the glorious presence 
of the Father distinct from the glorified body of Jesus. 
In their thought, the visible Jesus was literally on the right 
ihand of a visible Father. However, this conception of a 
visible and localized God in heaven is either gone or go 
ing; and for the average mind there remains a Deity, if 
any, as attenuated as stellar ether, and scarcely more per 
sonal than the forces of nature. No one ever made a 
more rational demand than the minister s wife when she 
asked for a particular God to supplement a universal God. 

We must get on common ground with our fellows, if 
we really wish to help, and sow our seed in the soil of 
living minds. The supreme need of the hour is for some 
one to help the masses to move out of the old " shack " 


of an unscientific world into God s beautiful, expanding 
palace. Though some new frames are needed for the 
old pictures, yet no treasure should be left to perish in 
the old " shack " ; because the ampler world of modern 
knowledge will never be home until the pictures of our 
childhood hang on the wall and the fire burns in the 
furnace. The larger abode of a scientific universe is a 
veritable prison when we have cast out the God of our 
fathers. But whether we would or not, we must learn 
to do business in the new world ; and sooner or later we 
shall learn that we can not do business in one kind of a 
universe and foster religion in another. Religion must 
thrive in the new world or perish. Neither is it enough 
for a few scholars to see their way in the new order ; they 
must show others how to be religious without stultifying 
their intellects. In other words, men must see before a 
religious appeal can reach their conscience. 

There are as many ways of becoming a sceptic as there 
are of becoming a Christian. We must admit, however, 
that careless living has multiplied the difficulties of faith 
for every one of us. And yet, a sincere effort to make 
religion real in one s own personal experience often 
hastens unbelief. Those who think that no one honestly 
doubts the existence of God have a poor knowledge of 
the facts ; because, in many minds, this is the only serious 
doubt. If only they could make this point secure, every 
thing else would fall in line as a matter of course. To 
a singular degree this has been true in my own case. The 
one word " God " is a creed large enough to burst all 


little worlds, if the word stands for a fact which has 
any worthy meaning. Some people, always wondering 
whether God is good to them, or whether He really thinks 
of them at all, are greatly shocked if some one else doubts 
God s existence. Whereas, to believe in Christ s God and 
at the same time doubt His goodness is a flat contradic 
tion. For many of us this would be impossible. 

Following the advice of friends whose judgment I 
trust _ I venture to give a simple history of my own 
early religious life. This is for the sake of finding a 
point of contact with those who have little or no faith; 
and with the hope of stating some of the real problems. 
Some may think this a dangerous thing to do. But un 
less we know the problems of suffering souls, how are 
we to solve them? Besides, the knowledge of another s 
difficulty with its solution, should enrich the faith of one 
having no serious difficulties of his own; and certainly 
it would make him more useful among people differently 
constituted from himself. 

My father became a Protestant at twenty years of age 
to the great distress of his Roman Catholic mother. At 
twenty-two he married Sarah Elizabeth Carr of Great 
Dalby, England. They were married in the quaint old 
church of the town by the Episcopal rector. Later, my 
father preached in England for the Wesleyans. How 
ever, on coming to America in 1857 he identified him 
self with the United Brethreri and remained with them 
until his death. As he located in what was then the 
frontier of this country, I can duplicate out of my own 


life much that is to be found in " Black Rock " and " Sky 
Pilot." In the midst of much irreligion, my parents put 
vital religion into the very marrow of my bones. 

Going far and near to preach in little schoolhouses, 
my father left us much alone in the old log cabin of 
one room; especially in the winter season when he 
preached nearly every night. His home-coming about 
once a month was a great event. In the summertime he 
would ride thirty miles on Sunday, preach three times, 
and be back home Monday by one o clock to delve into 
every kind of rough work as a true frontiersman. I 
pity the little boy who has never had the privilege of 
rifling a pair of saddlebags on the return of his father. 
Sometimes my father was detained on his way home by 
overflowing rivers that were too mad for the horse to 
swim. And once he was detained by watching all night 
to prevent a rough gang from hanging one of his dearest 
friends. The long, long Sundays that I spent alone with 
my mother in the old cabin are indelibly stamped on my 
memory. Sometimes I thought I should die with loneli 
ness. At such times my mother would try to comfort 
me with stories, or with letters from her invalid mother 
across the sea ; and then we both would cry. Once when 
I refused to be comforted, and bitterly complained be 
cause my father left us alone, my mother explained to 
me in a simple, awe-inspiring manner the tragedy of the 
World s sin and sorrow together with the suffering love 
of God. How my father was going forth in God s com 
pelling love to help Him save His children from the im- 


pending doom of sin, she pictured so vividly that I felt 
glad to live and suffer in such a cause. This was, prob 
ably, the most effective sermon to which I ever listened. 
And then my mother gathered me into her arms and made 
me conscious of the greatest thing in the world ; a love that 
is infinitely deeper than words; something so like God 
that we need look no farther for a fitting symbol of Him. 

As a child I was very susceptible to fear. I remem 
ber one bitter cold night when the winds howled and the 
thieves prowled. Every nerve in me ached with fear. 
That night my mother kneeling by her bed, with her little 
children at her side, prayed in a low tremulous voice, 
and with a sweet English accent, until God seemed nearer 
than the raging winds, and more powerful than the evil 
forces that were abroad to do us harm. How happy I 
was the next morning to find that the wind had sub 
sided, and that the horses were not stolen, and that no 
evil had befallen us! When a little child, religion was 
as real to me as my parents, or the atmosphere I breathed, 
or the food I ate. 

I am not certain of ever having been in a church until 
I was almost grown. But when I was probably five 
years old, I accompanied my mother to a revival meeting 
in an old schoolhouse. This schoolhouse, even to the 
lathing, was made of black walnut that was sawed at 
a local mill. Which of the many denominations was con 
ducting the services I do not know. But one night there 
were probably ten people kneeling at what they called the 
" mourner s bench." During the evening such a psychic 


wave passed over ^hose at the altar that the packed con 
gregation, to see what was happening, rose as one person. 
At this point, my mother lifted me onto the desk before 
her which afforded me a plain view of all those who were 
kneeling at the front. A young woman with head thrown 
back and hair disheveled, was wringing her hands and 
crying in piercing tones, " O God, save my poor soul from 
hell! " Just beyond, a man lay in a trance. And then 
another woman, with perfectly rapturous face, throwing 
her head back, clapped her hands and shouted " glory." 
Other seekers were groaning and pleading with tremu 
lous voices. The Christians who were assisting the 
seekers alternated their groanings of intercession with 
" amens " and shouts of praise. As it appeared to me 
the realms of the blessed and the realms of the damned 
were mingling their voices in that tumultuous scene. 
Heaven and hell seemed veritable realities before my eyes, 
and the picture was burned into my soul. 

The religion of my parents was simple, loving, and 
thoroughly ethical. These meetings were not criticized 
by them except that my father sometimes remarked at 
home that he liked the quiet meetings best. 

Much of the time there were no meetings in the com 
munity. Yet betimes services were conducted by all 
kinds of ministers, " descript and non-descript." It was 
not uncommon to hear these ministers say that no one 
ever got to heaven except by way of the "mourner s 
bench." One minister remarked that there was not a 
converted person in the Presbyterian Church except a 


few individuals who were converted outside at such 
meetings as he was conducting. Never having seen any 
of them, I took his word for it that the Presbyterians 
were an ungodly set. 

Altogether it became a fixed thought in my mind that 
I should need to get " old people s religion " or be lost. 
Indeed, that belief was very common throughout Amer 
ica when I was a child. Even the Presbyterians believed 
it, though they kept their mourner s bench out of sight. 
Accordingly, when I was fifteen years old, and getting 
to be a big boy, the crisis came ; because temptations were 
coming in thick and fast. Going to a revival one night 
in the schoolhouse and finding the seats all full, I took a 
board from under the stove and placed it on the coal pail 
for a seat. As I sat there the thought came to me, " When 
are you going to get religion? " This was followed by 
another, "Wouldn t it be strange if I went to the 
mourner s bench to-night?" "Not for five years yet," 
my heart quickly responded. " Not until I am twenty 
years old." Being a bashful boy I felt terrified at the 
mere thought of taking such a step before that crowd of 
" rowdies " who were openly scoffing. " But," my mind 
said, " if you make a start in five years it will again be 
now." It seemed plain to me that one " now " would 
be about as embarrassing as another. :t Wouldn t it be 
strange if I just went forward to-night without any re 
gard to my feelings ? " was a question that kept asserting 
itself. My mind swayed and tipped first one way and 
then the other until finally it literally fell on the side of 


a decision. " It is to-night." To me this seemed deeper 
than any other decision I had ever made, than which 
no firmer decision could be made. Being thoroughly 
.aware of its ethical significance, my heart involuntarily 
said, " You see, O God, what I have done." Not to 
have regarded myself a bound person from that time 
forth would have meant the perjuring of my deepest soul. 
It was an awe-inspiring decision at a time when God was 
to get either a great deal more or a great deal less of my 
life as the days went by. It would have been an irrep 
arable loss to me if this great decision had not been 
made at that time. Even now, I thank God with a grow 
ing gratitude for helping me to make that decision. So 
far, the experience was perfectly normal for a Christian 
boy in the adolescent period, though at that time I had 
never known a Christian boy. This experience of an 
unconditional surrender to the will of God should have 
brought me peace and strength; but it did not, because 
I utterly discredited my previous religious life as being 
no more than moral development. Real religion, in my 
thinking, would not begin until I had experienced the 
miracle of regeneration at the " mourner s bench." 

The die had been cast. And now the great miracle 
must be achieved! So I went forward. The knowl 
edge that I was observed by mocking eyes hurt like the 
thongs of a whip on a bare back. For a few moments 
I could think of nothing else. Then I tried to feel sorry 
for my sins; and not succeeding in that, I tried to feel 
sorry because I was not sorry. Those kneeling with me 


asked whether I believed in God. No one could have be 
lieved it more fully than I did. Then they asked me if 
I believed that He sent His Son into the world to save 
sinners. This I believed without question. Did I be 
lieve that He came to save me, and that He wanted to 
save me now? This, too, I believed. " Do you feel 
that He saves you now?" I did not know. "Well," 
they said, " you will know when He saves you, so you 
must make no mistake there." And thus we went the 
rounds, over and over again. While I believed every 
thing, yet I did not experience the miracle. Things 
seemed to grow worse and more confused as time went 
by. As they pleaded, first with God to save me, and then 
with me to surrender all to God and believe, I became 
utterly bewildered and hardened. There seemed to be 
no reality in anything. The groans and sighs, the pres 
sure of the hand, the pats on the back, the rhythmic music, 
the loud and fervent prayers, became a meaningless jar 
gon. I was heartily glad when the hour was over so 
that I could be alone. Once being alone, I did pray 
earnestly and continuously for God to save me, and felt 
a great depression of spirits without further results. 
The next night I repeated the experience of the previous 
evening with like sad consequences. The next day I was 
greatly depressed, but made up my mind that I would 
get religion or break a blood vessel in the attempt ; 
and I nearly broke the blood vessel. In the afternoon 
while carrying a heavy load of corn on my back, I 
stumbled over something which caused me to say " Oh ! " 


and as I added the word God, it sounded like profanity. 
But it was not, for prayer had become automatic. This 
incident caused me to smile, the first time, I believe, 
in two days. As I continued to pray without ceasing, 
there came to me after awhile a little suggestion of glad 
ness which caused me to exclaim, " Oh, I believe I am 
getting religion ! " Though the burden seemed to be 
lifting, yet it was some minutes before another teeling 
of gladness came. During the supper hour it seemed 
almost certain that I was getting religion. Nothing, 
however, was said about it as I wanted to be perfectly 

After supper I started for the schoolhouse across the 
dark fields. During that journey of over a mile, the 
psychic lights came on making all things beautiful. At 
the same time I was made inexpressibly glad. The great 
change appeared to be in the universe rather than in 
myself. I laughed and cried for joy. Recalling the 
Psalm, " For ... by my God have I leaped over a wall," 
that, I thought, would be an easy thing to do if a wall 
were there. What with laughing, making speeches, and 
thanking God, I soon completed the journey. 

As the schoolhouse was seated to face the door, on 
arriving late, I confronted the whole congregation. This 
arrangement of seats made it unnecessary for the people 
to turn and strain their necks to see each one who entered. 

In pioneer days it was customary to take a candle with 
you to church. On arriving at the schoolhouse you 
would take your penknife, push the small blade through 


the candle, stick the protruding blade into the window 
sash, and there you were, as nice as could be. Or else 
you would stand the candle on the desk in some melted 

Though the schoolhouse was but dimly lighted, and 
the people whom I faced that night were an ordinary 
crowd, yet in my psychic state I saw the people as angel 
figures under limelight. And as the only vacant seats 
were in the " Amen corner," I sat facing the congregation 
during the entire service. The sermon was wonderful 
to me beyond words to express; and yet I seemed able 
to understand it and to see all around it. 

After the sermon an invitation was given to 
" mourners." As none went forward, the minister then 
came to me to inquire of my condition. When with 
great joy I told him that I was converted, I was asked 
to relate my experience. This unexpected request shat 
tered my beautiful world as completely as a hammer 
stroke would have shattered a piece of crystal. Such a 
stage fright seized me that I could neither move nor 
speak before they were compelled to go on with the serv 
ice. This embarrassing experience sent me from the 
highest state of bliss to the deepest state of gloom. 
Peter s denial seemed trivial in comparison with mine; 
he had denied the Lord under trying circumstances, but 
I had denied Him while sitting in glory. 

A little later, when the minister rose and stated that 
they would " open the doors of the Church " for any 
who desired to join, there ensued a terrible struggle 


within me. During the few minutes of exhortation that 
followed I seriously questioned my heart. I knew that 
candidates were expected to answer the question, " Have 
you found God in the pardon of your sins, and do you now 
have peace with God? " But being in a state of torment, 
how could I claim peace with God? Though my con 
version still seemed like a miracle, yet never before had 
I been in such a humiliated or distressed state of mind. 
Before ever I tried to " get religion," I had plighted my 
soul and honor that I would follow God from that time 
forward. Even now I knew that I should follow Him, 
but how could I say that I had peace with God when my 
burden remained in spite of my earnest prayer to be 
forgiven? Had I in that act of denial become a " back 
slider," and was it necessary for me to be converted 
again? As a large percentage of the Christians pres 
ent had been converted two or more times to my knowl 
edge, a second conversion was not strange to me. Never 
doubting that I had been converted, and knowing why I 
was in despair, and believing that my suffering was 
wholly deserved, I dismissed the thought of a second con 
version. " How can a person know beforehand," I rea 
soned, " that he will feel at peace with God at the moment 
the question is asked?" By "now" do they not mean 
something more general; to-night, for example? Decid 
ing that there must be some latitude to the word " now " 
and that God would understand my honesty of purpose, I 
went forward and united with the Church. As I look back 
upon it, it still seems a most wise decision. 


Though fully expecting to be happy again after join 
ing the Church, yet my misery only increased. This was 
inevitable. I had identified religion with an abnormal 
psychic state. And such a state would not return with 
out another terrific effort. 

The next night, with an embarrassment that caused 
my cheeks to burn like fire, I rose before the scoffers and 
told them that God had converted me. Again I expected 
to feel happy. But, naturally, my sorrow only deepened 
as the abnormal state did not return. For the next two 
weeks I tried with all my original earnestness to get back 
my happiness ; but without success. One day while in a 
valley far from any human being, where the woods 
covered the hill before me, I was looking up into the sky 
and still pleading with God to restore my happy state of 
mind. Then the thought occurred to me, " Where is 
God? " At that time I was so ignorant of the universe 
that I thought the earth had a ceiling, and that the ceiling 
of the earth was the floor of heaven. It seemed to be 
about three rifle shots away. I thought that if one could 
get through the ceiling of the earth he would be in heaven, 
and there would be God. As I stood there gazing into 
the sky my mind said, " Why does God not show Him 
self ? " That He could part the clouds and show His 
face seemed the most natural and reasonable thing in the 
world. Why, then, did He not do so ? Since He neither 
blesses me in answer to my prayers, nor shows Himself, 
possibly He does not exist. My wonderful experience 


may have been nothing but a highly wrought state of 

I then recalled that ministers based their belief in the 
existence of God on certain arguments. But suddenly 
this seemed the strangest procedure imaginable. Why 
had God left us to argue and reason about His existence? 
Should He not settle so great a question beyond all argu 
ment? How strange it would be if my earthly father 
should stay away from us until we did not know whether 
he was dead or alive! We had the satisfaction of loving 
and obeying our father without ever a chance to doubt 
his existence. If our Heavenly Father would make me 
equally certain of His existence I should follow Him 
through flood and fire. " Then why does God not show 
Himself?" " Isn t it strange that He has hidden for 
ever and forever!" 

Here I remembered the Scripture which says, " No 
man can see God and live." But my heart quickly re 
sponded, " It is one thing to come near enough to kill 
us, and quite another to come near enough to convince us. 
Oh, isn t it strange that He hides forever?" 

Then I thought of Jesus. But my heart replied, 
" Maybe Jesus was mistaken." If He had a rapturous 
feeling like mine, and was able to sustain it, He would 
continue to believe in God even if He did not exist. 
Nothing short of God s personal appearance, it seemed to 
me, could settle the question. " Then why does God not 
show Himself? There is no sense in hiding; and if no 


sense in it, then it is wrong; and if wrong, then there is 
no God. Because God, if He exists, must be good and 
sensible. * 

Therefore, when my reasoning led me to say, " There 
can t be a God," I found that unbelief had entered the 
marrow of my being. I felt that God could not possibly 
do such a foolish and wicked thing as to hide from His 

Having reached this conclusion, I felt alarmed at my 
wicked thoughts. They were not, however, to be driven 
away. From that day forward the sky became more 
gray, and cold, and Godless. An awful crisis had come 
into my life. It seemed an irreparable loss if there were 
no God. My life, also, would go out in eternal night. 
If there was a God, and I gave up faith, then I should 
go to an endless hell of inexpressible torment. There 
was no comfort in either alternative. The problem was 
no longer the problem of the Church; it was my personal 
problem. And the battle had to be fought to a decisive 
issue. Being impaled on the two horns of the dilemma, 
I found it increasingly difficult to reproduce the exalted 
state of feeling on which I still relied for assurance. 

Never having met a college graduate, of course I had 
not heard one preach. It was in the college chapel, four 
years later, that I first listened to a sermon by a college 
man. My impression was that he made neither noise nor 
light. That he made but little noise I knew. But I am 
now willing to admit that he may have shed more light 
than I saw. Preaching often fails to make any connec- 


tion with the fundamental ideas and difficulties of doubt 
ing minds. 

In my new state of doubt, the first impulse was to 
confide in my father and Christian friends. But then I 
realized that I knew all the stock phrases, and that none 
of them met my case. If confronted with the old 
phrases would I not argue, and might I not confirm my 
self in a possible error? Was it not safer to fight it out 
with God, if He existed, than to argue with those who 
could not feel what I had felt? The insistence of these 
questions caused me to keep my secret wholly to myself, 
and to go on with the struggle. Twenty-two years later 
during the last visit with my father, as we rode together 
over the hills, I told him this story. With a look of 
tenderness I shall never forget, he replied, " I believe the 
story because you tell me, but I am glad you did not tell 
me at the time. I could not have helped you." Said 
he, " I do not recall ever in my life doubting the inspira 
tion of the Scriptures, or the existence of God. I have 
often doubted my worthiness and acceptance, but nothing 
more." Still believing that I did the wise thing under 
the circumstances, I was glad to have his approval. If 
an honest doubter asks for bread, he is not infrequently 
given a stone by well-meaning Christians, and neither 
can understand the other. 

As this is a case study, it should be said that my first 
mistake was in discrediting my early religious experience. 
My second mistake was in identifying religion with an 
extreme psychic state. And when my psychic state failed 


me, then my utterly false images of God and the universe 
completed the destruction of my faith. If I could have 
reproduced the psychic state readily, my false images of 
God and the universe would not have troubled me for 
many years. 

The ministers who created these false impressions in 
my mind were not deserving of censure, because they did 
not understand the forces with which they were dealing 
and the community was in great need of something. 
Even for me, it was best that I did what we thought was 
right regardless of what followed. 

Having entered upon the vigorous adolescent period, 
I greatly needed to take my stand as an adult Christian. 
I needed to realize such a new influence as a thorough 
commitment of myself would bring. This, however, no 
one in the community understood. 

We now know that one may be genuinely converted 
and hypnotized at the same time. That is, he may 
enter God s service with the noblest spirit of loyalty, 
and at the same time submit himself to a process that 
will induce the hypnotic state. Likewise, it is possible for 
one to be hypnotized under religious influences without 
being converted. This is the case with those who wish 
religion only if it will give them more pleasure than their 
sins. Though they may not deeply analyze it, yet their 
conversion is an experiment to see which they like the 
better; and when their hypnotic happiness leaves them, 
they return to their greater pleasure in sin. Or, when 
the idea and method are rational, one may be converted 


without being hypnotized. In this case a complete dedi 
cation of self to the will of God is trusted to bring its 
own rich reward in noble enthusiasm and fine apprecia 

Since I had always been a Christian, it was not con 
version that I needed, but a deeper commitment of my 
self to the will and work of God. And as I have already 
explained, this I did before trying to " get religion." 
The moral will is the spiritual spine. If it stands erect 
in its duties toward God and men, the whole spiritual 
life will come into normal feeling and action. My un 
conditional submission to the will of God was normal, 
beautiful, and necessary. But the experience which came 
two days later should be characterized as a super-normal 
psychic state, self -induced. While the psychic state lasted 
my true religious feelings cooperated vigorously; but 
when it subsided, as it was bound to do, my true religious 
emotions likewise disappeared. For years, all references 
to spirituality were understood by me to mean an excit 
ing, nervous thrill ; such a thrill as I had once felt. This 
led me to study the feelings, a few years later, to see if I 
could determine their value. I found that I was able 
to hypnotize a man so that he thought he saw God; and 
then I could cause him to fall down in adoration before 
his imaginary deity. Or, by taking ether, I could re 
produce the glory world of my own so-called conversion. 
Feelings alone are not to be trusted, for the objects which 
they often create do not exist. On the other hand, real 
objects, valid and knowable, produce appropriate feelings 


when we are rightly related to them. Never have I been 
in such a state of pain or dejection but that I knew that 
I loved my children if my attention was called to it. I 
still demand, therefore, an objective, knowable God be 
fore I can love Him. 

While greatly deploring such religious exercises as are 
calculated to produce extreme psychic states, yet I bring 
an indictment against the average Church of this genera 
tion because its religious feelings are sub-normal. The 
latter condition is probably as dangerous as the former. 
Even our physical temperature must be allowed to run 
neither too high nor too low. If in everything but re 
ligion we feel warmth and enthusiasm, we reveal a de 
plorable religious condition. For if one intelligently and 
fully commits himself to the will and service of God, 
appropriate feelings will come to him as surely as color 
comes to ripening fruit. 

When prayer availed me nothing in bringing back the 
spirit of God as I conceived of it I first questioned 
my own heart. And when it no longer condemned me, 
I then questioned God. As I understood it, to produce 
a rapturous feeling was God s part. My part was to 
believe and obey. If only the hand of faith could suc 
ceed in laying hold of God the spiritual current would 
come on with a thrill. A great deal of this sensational 
religion still exists. It is to be found in all our great 
cities as well as in rural communities. 

Let two errors like false experiences and false images 
of God unite and they will bring forth a whole brood 


of errors. So far as I am able to analyze, I always had 
a perfect sense of God s character. If He existed at 
all, He was infinitely great and wise and good. But these 
characteristics simply meant the quality of God and not 
God Himself. Character without being was like a smile 
without a face. It was this God behind the character that 
I utterly misapprehended. My false picture of God s 
being, of the universe, and the relation between the two 
was the cause of my religious vexation. If we add to 
these the fickleness of a sensational experience labeled, 
true spiritual religion we may begin to understand my 
religious undoing. 

I dare say that the subject of extreme religious ex 
perience will not trouble many of my readers, but half 
the population is vexed by false images of God and the 
universe. These false images are so prevalent that one 
trembles for the future of religion in a scientific age. 
As to certain aspects of God s existence, the confusion is 
becoming greater every day, and there are good reasons 
for it. Since the masses are coming to have a fairly 
accurate conception of the main outlines of the universe, 
their false images of God s being are faring badly in 
this new world. Many are casting out their unsatisfac 
tory image of God without anything to take its place. 
Some claim that we are much better off to think of God s 
character without trying to form any conception of His 
being. Generally, however, when His image goes God 
goes with it. Those who have been steeped in religion 
from their youth, may continue to worship God after He 


has almost disappeared; but succeeding generations will 
have little interest in such an evasive God. They will 
wish to know that God is before they attribute character 
to Him. 

The various psychic cults are trying to find a more 
satisfying idea of God ; but they are simply making a 
bad matter worse. Over against this, however, is the 
popular phrase of the day, " No one can possibly conceive 
of what God is like ! So do not advertise your ignorance 
by trying." This, probably, is the saddest of all. 

The religious dynamo is in the heart, or moral feelings, 
while the circuit is in the head, or formal ideas. If the 
circuit is broken the light goes out. As long as one s ideas 
are not discredited by himself, he may get some light with 
a very poor circuit. But once let him thoroughly dis 
credit his own mental images, and the light will cease to 

The dynamo may be run long after the circuit is broken, 
and the light has gone out. I ran mine for many years. 
The minister s wife previously referred to was doing the 
same thing. Many students reported to Professor Leuba 
that they continued to pray, through habit or sentiment, 
but that God had so faded from their minds that prayer 
no longer meant anything to them. Many learned scien 
tists revealed the " broken circuit "of their thoughts by 
giving their crude conceptions or no conceptions of God. 
These men have long since ceased to run their religious 

If the lights refuse to come on, after a while one grows 


tired of stoking the furnace merely to keep the dynamo 
running. Therefore, in the succeeding chapters my aim 
will be to show how I mended my circuit. 

After continuing my fruitless struggle for two years 
I became desperate. For one thing, I had no religious 
young people with whom to associate. When not alone, 
I worked with vile men who never allowed much time 
to elapse without indulging in obscene conversation. 
Living in a community where we had never seen a rail 
road, or a piano, or an organ, I found little to entertain 
or comfort me. And my religion added greatly to my 
burden. There was just work and privations and fruit 
less prayers. So it is not strange that at the end of two 
years I wished that I might die. This feeling came to 
me with such force one day, when I was working in a 
distant, lonely place, that I gave audible expression to the 
wish. Not that I wanted to die on that particular day! 
I have never seen the time when I wanted to die to-day. 
But hoping that I might die in ten years, I resolved anew 
that I would just stiffen my neck, and grit my teeth, and 
pray on until the end came which I hoped would not 
be too distant. During these two years I was very faith 
ful to every known Christian duty. Once I even tried 
to pray in prayer meeting, but broke down with fright 
in the middle of the first sentence. I regularly bore testi 
mony, however, to my determination to go forward in the 
Christian life. 

Soon after the time of my deep depression it was an 
nounced that a series of revival meetings was to be held 


in the community. An uneducated old minister, rather 
feeble in body, was to conduct the meetings. As there 
were but few Christians to help him, it looked like a great 
undertaking. This question rose in my mind, " Would 
it be wrong for me to take an active part in persuading 
others to become Christians while I myself am in doubt 
of God s existence? * I had not then heard of people 
doing Church work to gain social standing. And if I 
had, it could not have been a motive because socially I 
already belonged to the " four hundred." Some men 
were reported to have joined the Church to beat a neigh 
bor in a horse trade or an ox trade and this I knew 
to be very wicked. But as I had neither horses nor oxen 
to trade there were but two motives that compelled me to 
go forward. The first motive was the hope that in this 
way I might find God. The second was that I might help 
someone else to be religious, since other people ap 
peared to have more faith. I decided that the proposed 
course was justifiable because if God did not exist it 
could make but little difference, and if He did it was very 
important that people should be brought to Him. Con 
sequently, I selected a young man of my own age. He 
was on his way to the schoolhouse with a band of hilari 
ous young people when I called him aside. We were 
very late in reaching the services because out in the dark 
I labored long and hard with my friend and used every 
art of persuasion that I could command before I brought 
him to a decision. Finally, however, he promised to go 
to the " mourner s bench " if I would go with him. Then 


we entered the schoolhouse, and each one kept his prom 
ise. My friend became so desperately wrought up at the 
altar that his parents, who were not Christians, did not 
know what to do with him when the services were over. 
They therefore asked me to take him home with me for 
the night. My friend continued to weep all the way 
home, and frequently requested that we stop to pray. 
That journey of a mile and a quarter across the fields I 
shall never forget. But before we went to sleep, suddenly 
clasping my hand, he exclaimed, " Oh, I am converted." 
Knowing how he felt I was very glad for him, but at the 
same time my heart cried within me, " I do wonder if 
there is anything in it! It is wonderful to him now, I 
know, but how will he feel to-morrow, or next week, or 
in six months? " 

However, I next persuaded his parents to go forward, 
and the minister asked me to pray for them at the altar - 
which I did. They, too, were converted, but no bless 
ing came to me. During the two weeks, I led eleven 
people to the altar, and was asked by the minister each 
night to offer prayer for the seekers. 

On the last night of the series, near the close, the min 
ister said : 

" Now there is a little business to be attended to, and 
will Brother Richard Swain please withdraw from the 
room? " I was so surprised and excited that I arose and 
went out into a temperature below zero without either 
overcoat or hat. Leaving the reader to judge of my 
ethics and manners, I will confess that I put my ear up 


to the wall and listened with all my might. The minis 
ter said : 

" Some of us have been considering the matter, and 
we are convinced that Brother Richard Swain has a de 
cided call to the ministry. We want you, therefore, if 
you think it is wise, to recommend him to the conference 
for license to preach." 

This was such a shock to me that a little cry went up 
from my heart, " And I don t even know that there is a 

As there was no dissenting vote the minister said, 
You may now call him in." If only my coat and hat 
had been with me I should not have been present when 
the door opened. However, with the temperature below 
zero, and neither overcoat nor hat, even a young candi 
date for the ministry could not refuse to enter. But 
it would have been more to his comfort if the congrega 
tion had not been seated to face the door. 

Through this vote of the Church I was compelled to 
grapple with a new question of ethics. Would it be 
right for me under the circumstances to appear for ex 
amination ? I had not asked for license to preach. The 
matter had been thrust upon me without my knowledge 
and consent. How could I know but this was the road 
over which I was being led to the light ? Besides, eleven 
people had responded to my appeal. Would I care to be 
a minister? It seemed to me that there was nothing in 
the world I should so much like to be as a minister if 
only I could know there was a God. This feeling de- 


cided me to accept the invitation and appear for examina 

While my education had not gone beyond that of the 
common country schools, and while I was but seventeen 
years of age, yet the average minister of the community 
had even less education. Not until three years after I 
was licensed to preach did I learn that there was such an 
institution in the world as a Theological Seminary. 
However, in those pioneer days all the ministers, mission 
aries, Irish pack-peddlers, and horse thieves who passed 
through put up at my father s house for the night with 
out ever being charged a cent. They more than paid 
their way, though, I can assure you, by having to talk 
religion and theology until midnight with my father 
who was a born theologian. Though my father was not 
an educated man, yet he had picked up an immense 
amount of knowledge along certain lines, and always en 
joyed a friendly debate more than a good dinner. At 
such times, from early childhood, I had been allowed to 
sit in the chimney corner and listen until the last word 
was said. It was my motion-picture show. And no child 
ever had more pleasure than came to me when I saw that 
my father had " wound up " his man in the argument. 
Then, with the greatest cordiality, my father would show 
the guest to bed. As there was but one great room, and 
beds none too many, I usually slept with the guest. And 
according to the guest s report in the morning, I had 
given him the completest kicking he ever had in his life. 

With such training, and in such a community, it is not 


strange that my biblical and doctrinal examination was 
pronounced entirely satisfactory. After I had gone to 
school for ten years it, probably, would not have been so 
satisfactory. Indeed, I was strongly advised not to go 
to college, as it was likely to rob me of my spirituality; 
and besides, many souls would be lost while I was getting 
an education. 

Though I continued for a time on the farm or in the 
coal mines, yet I was told to go out and preach some 
where on Sundays. Accordingly, I would ride ten or 
twenty miles on Sunday to preach in different school- 
houses. Putting the rein over the horn of the saddle, I 
would plead before the cold gray sky for an unknown 
God to renew my happy feelings as a token of His ex 
istence. But no happiness, or assurance, came to me. 
When the time came to preach, I felt the importance of 
not throwing our lives away in sinful living, and so was 
able to give them some very earnest advice. Then on 
the return trip I would continue to pray to an unsym 
pathetic sky. Nothing, however, ever came of it except 
a deeper depression of spirits. Though the dynamo was 
running at a terrific rate, yet the circuit of my thoughts 
was broken beyond my ability to repair. So I decided to 
go to college at any sacrifice. 

Boarding a train for the first time, I went two hun 
dred miles for my preparatory course in connection with 
the college where I expected to graduate. But no re 
ligious experience came to me until the middle of my 
sophomore year. Then while studying Mark HopkinsJ 


little book, " The Law of Love, and Love as a Law/ I 
got a new insight into the human soul. I could see that 
if one would bring all his powers into harmony, and then 
relate them to the beautiful enfolding universe, all things 
must work together for his good, if by his good one 
meant the perfect unfolding of his life. Instantly there 
came a great joy in living. It took shape in the thought, 
"All things work together for good to them that love 
God." I felt that no proposition in geometry was more 
capable of proof. A life with its powers united in the 
will of God must unfold to match the harmony without, 
even as the rose unfolds to the light and warmth of the 
sun. Besides, I now had entertainment and beautiful 
friends. Almost any good thing seemed possible. 
* This," I said, " must be what intelligent people mean 
by Christian experience." The only remaining question 
was the old one, " Is there a God? " Is God " The All- 
ness of things about us ? " This, however, seemed too 
pantheistic. And the personal God still evaded me. So 
I decided that the question of God was too much for me, 
and that I would just wait until I should meet the " wise 
men " who knew. In the meantime I would assume that 
there was a God; for the college president believed that 
there was, and prayed to Him every day at chapel. 

As the happy unfolding of my life continued I tried 
to commit all to God whose will, if He existed, I very 
well knew. At any rate there was something in the uni 
verse that matched my need. I would just call it God 
until I met the " wise men " in further courses of study 


which by this time I had fully resolved upon. So the 
last two and a half years of my college course were very 
beautiful; they constantly increased my joy in living. 
No small part of this better experience was due to the 
influence of the Christian gentleman and fascinating 
preacher who became our new college pastor. 

Here it becomes necessary to relate something more 
delicate than anything that has gone before. While I 
was in college my younger and only brother passed 
through a great moral crisis. As I dearly loved him he 
was much in my mind. During my senior year I 
dreamed night after night that he was killed. In these 
dreams I was always with my two older sisters hunting 
our brother in the woods. Feeling certain that we should 
find him dead, we usually came upon him by an old log 
cabin where he lay dead and mangled. I have no theories 
about the dreams, but the impression made upon my mind 
was so deep that when I went home, after graduating 
from college, I felt that I must do something to help 
him. Accordingly it was planned that I should spend 
three or four days with him in the harvest field where he 
was running a heading machine. There I hoped we 
should have a pleasant time, and find an opportunity to 
shed some light on the deeper meanings of life. Then 
some evening we would have a quiet little talk when I 
might persuade him to be a Christian. As I was going 
a long distance to a theological school, and did not ex 
pect to see him again for three years, I hoped to ac 
complish my purpose during the week at my disposal. 


For two and a half days we worked together with many 
pleasant little chats. It then being Saturday noon, my 
father wanted me to drive fourteen miles with him and 
preach for him the next day. I could return Monday 
and be with my brother one or two days before the long 
journey. But Saturday afternoon a great storm arose, 
and at midnight my host awakened me saying, " Your 
brother is killed by lightning." 

Though we started home immediately, the mud was so 
deep and sticky that it required till daylight to make the 
journey. There had been a cloudburst, and such an 
electric storm as is seldom seen. From midnight till 
dawn we dragged through the mud under an indescribable 
electrical display. Forked lightning splitting the sky in 
every direction made the whole heavens lurid with light, 
while the low thunder like distant artillery scarcely ceased 
to roll. No pen can describe that journey. Nature 
seemed omnipotent and awe-inspiring. At first my 
heart was dazed and dumb. Then it cried, " Why did 
God kill my brother at this little nick of time when I was 
hoping to bring him to Christ? Was there ever any 
thing like this? Why did He take him? " 

Then while I was fixedly watching the omnipotent dis 
play before me my mind asked : 

" Did God kill him or did the great and terrible ma 
chine, called the world, kill him ? What is the world, and 
what is God? When does God act, and when does the 
universe act ? Would they not be squarely in each other s 
way much of the time? The world I know, and its ac- 


tivities I behold, but where is God? Does He have an 
abode, or is He a sort of spiritual ether that pervades the 
universe?" And my heart responded, "Oh, you have 
never yet settled the question of whether there is a God ! " 
So once more God faded into a dream, or a guess, while 
the elements continued to display their terrifying power. 

At daylight I stood with a broken heart beside my 
dead brother, believing either that there was no God, or 
else that my brother had gone to endless torment. A 
few moments later I saw my father kneel by his side, and 
heard him say, " Oh, my son, my son, would to God I 
had died for thee ! " 

In a short time we were invited to breakfast, and my 
father being unable to speak motioned to me to say grace. 
However I managed I do not know, but out of a chok 
ing throat I said grace to as empty and Godless a world as 
any human being ever faced. 

Two weeks after my brother s death I entered the 
theological seminary. The deep, vast, and unshakable 
verities from which I could not escape were sorrow and 
love. All else was chaos. As a hungry man seeks for 
food, so I sought for light. Much of the theology in 
the books which I read irritated me so that I could scarcely 
eat my food at mealtimes. Yet it was important that I 
should learn the history of human thought. All of my 
professors I truly loved and respected, but the attitude of 
theological schools more than thirty years ago was not 
wholly suited to the needs of one on the border of a 
" new world-awakening " whose faith had suffered so 


much and so long. The theological world was not quite 
ready to give the help that it now gives to many suffer 
ing minds. 

During my first year in the seminary I frequently 
dreamed of seeing my brother in torment. Sometimes 
I would wake trembling, and even when I could throw 
off the thought and go to sleep, I was liable to repeat 
the dream in some new form. 

Once when I was walking with one of the professors, 
as true a Christian man as ever I knew, I told him of the 
circumstances of my brother s death. He asked me if 
my parents were Christians. I told him that they were 
very good Christians. Then he counseled me not to go 
off into any heresies, but to feel comforted concerning 
my brother; for " The promises were to the parents and 
to their children unto the third and fourth generation." 

While I listened to this in silence, yet the following 
thoughts went through my mind : 

Then God would save my brother who had not im 
proved his privileges, while He would consign to end 
less torment our poor play-fellows who were not blessed 
with the good influence of Christian parents." 

My mind instinctively felt what I had discretion not to 
say : " I should despise a God who had no more ethical 
sense than that. God should be harder on my brother 
than on them." 

Much of my philosophy and theology was worked out 
during my seminary course; but there were gaps that I 
could not fill. So I next went to Yale to study philoso- 


phy. In postgraduate work, through the guidance of 
professors, I expected to find the " wise men " for whom 
I had waited so long. However, these " wise men " are 
not readily understood in a few weeks. They have a 
poor faculty for making connection with all the ideas that 
still linger in the mind of callow youth. At any rate it 
soon dawned upon me that there was no such God as 
I was looking for or else these men were unable to give 
Him to me. When this conviction came to me I went out 
from a recitation one night into the dark and once more 
fought the old battle. Standing on the New Haven 
Green and looking up into the pelting sleet I said : 

" Now I have met the wise men, and still I do not 
know whether there is an inspired Bible, or a heaven, 
or a God." But I exclaimed, " O God, if you are, and 
if I should ever meet you anywhere in eternity, I would 
run to you as a little child runs to a father. I would 
tell you how weak and sinful and ignorant I am, and I 
know you would love me." That night on the old Green, 
while in the dark and pelted with sleet, I went out onto 
the last crag where any human soul can go, and cried 
into the infinite depths, " O God, if you are there, some 
day I shall know you and love you." In that act I passed 
beyond all men and all institutions, and took my stand 
with the final reality, whatever it might be, and at least 
I was free and not afraid. Though thoroughly agnostic 
still, yet I could quietly work and wait. 

Returning to my studies and resolving to appropriate 
whatever I could understand, I was surprised to find how 


much of the teaching ministered to my needs. Before 
long I came to see that God did not have a central nucleus, 
or ghost form in heaven; neither did He resemble a re 
fined substance like ether. Spirit was something quite 
different from what I had supposed. My mind was 
hitting the trail. Then I understood that God had not 
revealed Himself to the world according to my demand, 
because no such God existed in heaven or earth. So one 
day in class I asked a professor, who is now dead, if he 
thought we should see God in heaven as we see men and 
trees here. At the same time I assured him that I did 
not. His answer was, " I think your position would be a 
very dangerous doctrine to teach." But my own con 
viction was that it was becoming a very dangerous doc 
trine not to teach. Time has proved that I was right. 
Millions of people are suffering to-day from false images 
of God or from no image of God. Not long ago when 
I related this class incident to a Yale man, he remarked, 
" Well, Professor - - made great growth before he 

My categorical answers to the four questions at the 
head of this chapter are : When we have rational ideas 
of God and the universe we shall see that He is leaving 
nothing undone to reveal Himself. To an enlightened 
understanding it does not seem possible that God could 
reveal Himself so that no one could doubt His existence. 
Though the existence of God is a question of doubt and 
discussion with many, yet we may achieve deep and satis 
fying assurance if we go about it in the right way. I 


think it would be morally wrong for God to leave His 
children in doubt of His existence if He were able to 
reveal Himself. 

This chapter is largely excavation. We have dug the 
hole deep so that we may commence in the next chapter 
to lay the foundation on solid bottom. And this was 
necessary if our proposed structure is to stand. 

Allow me this closing word. When I began to get on 
my religious feet at Yale, I unexpectedly received a call 
to a college pastorate. And though the usual number of 
sceptics were found among the students, yet in many re 
spects they were the most savable men in college. Usu 
ally, if you could hit the keys of their souls they would 
ring back and ring true. 



What is God? 
Who is God? 
Where is God? 
What does God do? 

If the ancients made their gods, how do we know that we 
are not making our God? 
May we not be communing with a mere idea? 


Christian character, the Christian college, and Chris 
tian civilization have been very important factors in the 
discovery and development of modern learning. 

Expecting to derive much benefit from the sciences, 
Christian people with fine enthusiasm strove to promote 
them. Nevertheless, there came a time when the allied 
sciences threatened to turn upon and destroy the religion 
that had so carefully nurtured them. When the scien 
tific imagery of the Bible began to clash with the clearly 
ascertained facts of science, many people concluded that 
science and religion were contradictory; however, the 
crude conceptions of the material universe found in the 
Bible are no integral part of religion. 



That religion may discard its wornout clothes for new 
and better ones has not been an easy lesson for believers, 
or unbelievers, to learn. Thinking that religion must 
stand or fall with the scientific accuracy of the Bible, 
some drew back from modern science preferring re 
ligion; others clung to the new learning forsaking re 
ligion. For a time, therefore, it was inevitable that re 
ligion and her foster daughter, modern science, should 
not be on the best of terms; because the daughter could 
not approve of the mother s dress, and the mother thought 
the daughter utterly lacking in becoming reverence. 
However, with their great need of each other, let us be 
lieve that they are now settling down to a lasting friend 
ship of mutual helpfulness. 

Unfortunately, the opinion is gaining considerable 
credence that modern Christians are believing less and 
less, and that finally they will cease to believe in religion 

But this is the very opposite of the truth, for they are 
still believing the old religion, though in a vastly bigger 
and better way. For, at the present time, where its help 
is welcome, modern learning is rendering a beautiful 
service to Christian faith. And this is the grateful testi 
mony of thousands of intelligent, consecrated people. 
No well-informed person, however, would deny that sci 
ence has injured, and will increasingly weaken, the faith 
of those who do not know how to make a religious use 
of modern learning. 

While religion and science have distinctive fields to 


cultivate, yet neither may disregard the claims of the other 
with impunity. Nevertheless, we do rejoice to see science 
tearing down the " old cabin " of an unscientific world 
in which the Church has lived too long. But when it 
proposes to shut God out of the new mansion of a scien 
tific universe, those who know and love Him will seri 
ously object, especially since the new knowledge makes 
God better understood, and more needed than ever. 

It is likewise pleasant to see religion standing for 
spiritual verities and duties, but when it demands that 
the Christian shall live in a world that is crude and half 
false, the modern man resents it. He simply cannot do 
it. Yet, to-day and always, religion should be a simple 
story that anyone may understand; but it should not be 
clothed in such crude and antiquated forms as to an 
tagonize the man of modern knowledge. 

During these introductory statements, we may as well 
admit that the average scientist appears to have as poor 
a knowledge of religion as the average Christian has of 
science. Too often he is still resisting religious concep 
tions that all intelligent Christians have long since out 
grown, or else he is adopting philosophical theories that 
are only half thought through. This is amazingly true 
of some men who are superb in their own chosen lines 
of research. No one is hit by this statement unless he is 
standing in the line of the shot. Whether or not the 
reader is hit, I beg of him to keep friendly with me until 
he has heard my simple story of God in His world. 

Could we but free the religion of Jesus from the crude, 


psychology and the antiquated science of other days, and 
see it at home in the fairer world of to-day, it would 
shine with new luster; and at the same time give a rich, 
new meaning to the world itself, such as it can never 
have apart from religion. Science, and not religion, was 
responsible for crude science. Religion will be responsi 
ble if it retains a science that has become antiquated. 

Taking our stand then in the midst of modern knowl 
edge, I shall endeavor to picture religion both at home 
and happy in the new world. I shall not have much to 
say directly about scientific subjects, but shall constantly 
try to keep in mind the man with modern information. 
The nearer I can make this book resemble a primer, the 
better satisfied I shall be. If one could so write that the 
learned would approve, and the ignorant understand, his 
joy should be full. To give a simple description of God 
in His world congenial to the scholar, while comprehen 
sible and acceptable to common busy people, would be the 
highest possible service one could wish to render. In 
these days there is great need of a clear presentation of 
God; a presentation that is free from the entanglements 
of technical learning, and at the same time consonant with 
the known facts of life. Practical men would like to 
see " the mended circuit of our religious thoughts," since 
their circuits, in many cases at least, seem broken beyond 
repair. They are asking for a simple and satisfying 
gospel that is cognizant of the facts and forces among 
which they live and toil. We shall begin, therefore, at 
the very beginning. 


i. What is God? 

The discussion which immediately follows does not 
concern itself with why we believe in God, but aims to 
give a definite idea of how we conceive of Him. For 
those who have a natural sense of God, or a religious 
nature, a satisfying conception of Him will be ample for 
their spiritual needs. And, furthermore, those who doubt 
God s existence need first of all a definite idea of what 
we mean by the term Deity. 

It is a pleasure, therefore, to answer in the words of 
Jesus, " God is a spirit." 

This might very well be regarded as a final answer 
but for the fact that spirit means all sorts of things to 
different minds. When I once asked a company of in 
telligent people if I were a spirit, they promptly an 
swered " no," but supposed I should be when I died. 
They seemed to think of spirit as a ghost, as something 
that might appear or disappear through locked doors. 
The same idea apparently obtained universally in times 
past, and that doubtless accounts for the fact that the 
Greek word, meaning spirit, was translated " Ghost " in 
the Scriptures and Apostles Creed. But the idea of a 
visible spirit should perish. Spirits are neither evil 
ghosts nor Holy Ghosts. Even if there were a ghost, 
that which appeared could be no more than the instrument 
of the spirit, and not the spirit itself. However refined 
and ghostly the form, the spirit would remain as invisible 
as when it had a gross human body. 


As further evidence of confusion on this subject, a 
young man from one of our good colleges seeking mem 
bership in my Church, informed me that he had peculiar 
views. Spirit, whether applied to God or man, had no 
meaning for him. He wanted to join the Church be 
cause in that way he believed he could render a better 
social service. In his thought, God was neither a per 
son nor a spirit, but a force. Having no satisfactory 
idea of spirits he had banished the thought of them en 
tirely from his mind. 

All through my own period of doubt I conceived of 
God s spirit on earth as something emanating from a 
glorious spiritual form in heaven. Thinking that this 
form in heaven was a spirit made it only the easier to 
believe that God himself could appear to men if He cared 
to do so. That He did not care to appear to His chil 
dren and thereby settle the question of His existence 
beyond all doubt seemed preposterous. And it would 
still seem so to my moral sense, if I retained my former 
conception of spirit. Of course He should not come near 
enough to " consume us," but He might come near enough 
to convince us. 

The " New Thought " people, struggling with the 
meaning of spirit, have arrived at the conclusion that 
there is just " One universal substance called spirit" So, 
God is not to them a spirit, but simply spirit, " a universal 

Two or three other cults believe that man s spirit is 
simply his physical breath. 


To say that God is a spirit, then, with any of these 
gross conceptions in mind, is sadly to misconceive Him. 

Whether we say God is a Spirit, a Soul, or a Person, our 
meaning is the same. Of these three expressions, how 
ever, the word Person is the best because, being the 
scholar s term, it is clearly defined. So when we have 
learned the signification of the word Person, we shall 
attribute the same meaning to all three words, using them 

In speaking of God as a person the scholar never has 
in mind either form or substance, however rarefied. He 
does not know even that there is material substance, much 
less spiritual substance. He knows very well what per 
sonality is as experience, but beyond that he knows noth 
ing about it. Personality, to him, means a Will that 
knows itself, and then knows Other Wills. When we say 
that God is a Spirit, or Person, we should mean that He 
is a Loving Intelligent Will. In speaking of God as 
the Soul of the universe we should have in mind the 
same idea. 

There is no harm in thinking of God as a force if the 
force is intelligent, and knows itself; but a force that 
does not know that it is a force, is not God. A progres 
sive Jewish rabbi expressed the wish that we could get 
rid of the word God altogether, and substitute some 
such word as " Cosmos." When asked if the " Cos 
mos " knew that it was a cosmos, or that we were talk 
ing about it, he replied that he did not think so. " Then 
I would rather worship you/ I said, "than your cos- 


mos, for you would at least know that I reverenced 

An intelligent lawyer friend of mine once said to me, 
"Of course I do not believe in a personal God." I asked 
him if he meant that he did not believe in a God who has 
a form in heaven. But he answered : 

" Oh, no, no, I have been beyond that for twenty-five 
years! God, if He means anything, means the infinite, 
while a person means the limited. Now, who ever heard 
of such a childish thing as a limited infinite? No, pig- 
iron, as much as anything, is God." 

I replied, " With all your intelligence, you haven t the 
remotest idea of what constitutes personality. You are 
not aware that by personality we mean a certain type 
of experience, and not a substance. Personality is real 
ized only as the experience of self-knowledge is achieved. 
You are not as yet much of a personality, you are hardly 
more than a candidate for the office, but by making a 
good campaign you may get elected. You are not very 
personal because you are not very self-knowing, and if 
you should drop the plummet into the depths of your ex 
perience to sound yourself, by that very act you would 
acquire new depth, and would need to try again to fathom 
yourself. So at best, you are only becoming personal. 
None but the Infinite Experience can know itself per 
fectly, and therefore, God alone is completely personal." 

My friend had no idea either of God s personality or 
his own, and his philosophical conception of nature was 
only a little less crude. 


It was a long step in the right direction when I came 
to realize that I had never seen my mother, with whom 
I lived for so many happy years. Yet there was one 
thing that I felt sure I knew absolutely, as I knew 
nothing else and that was my mother. Not her face, 
not her voice, not her attitudes nor her actions, though all 
these I knew too and loved. But back of all these there 
was a real mother, of whom these were only manifesta 
tions. And this real mother, that I knew as I knew 
nothing else, was silent, and invisible. And then I found 
that I knew myself too hardly as well as I knew my 
mother, but in the same way, and I knew myself also to 
be invisible and silent. My spirit, or personality, is as 
invisible and silent as God. I have no more seen my 
self than I have seen Him. Neither has my naked soul 
ever made a sound. All the words that my soul desires 
expressed are produced by a sort of animated phonograph 
which we call the mouth. At the wish of my invisible 
self the physical organs of speech set the air vibrating, 
but my self-conscious Will is eternally silent. There is 
much to be said about the relation of Personalities to their 
instruments, but this must be left until a little later. It will 
avoid confusion if we try to take but one step at a time. 

Great scholars may think that such ideas as I have en 
deavored to illustrate are too simple to require statement, 
nevertheless the recognition of these simple facts con 
cerning my mother and myself unlocked my prison door. 
It revolutionized everything within me, and without me. 
During the thirty years of my active ministry, it has been 


the moulding thought of my life. Once realizing that 
God was a " Loving Intelligent Will," I no longer thought 
of Him as sitting on a throne, or showing His face 
through parted clouds. This conception of spirit gave to 
everything new shape and color. It was the idea around 
which a new heaven and a new earth took form. The 
rest of this book must further explain what it then 
meant, and still means, to me. As the result of a better 
conception of spirit, my world was relieved of intoler 
able intellectual burdens. Simply to get the idea, how 
ever, is not enough; one must follow it out logically to 
see where it will lead him. 

To the question, " What is God? " I once more answer 
that He is a Loving Intelligent Will. And, apart from 
His instruments, He is silent and invisible, here and every 
where, now and always. 

2. Who is God? 

First, allow me to say that He is not the Father of our 
bodies, though He is the Creator of them. God created 
trees, but He is not the Father of trees. Fatherhood, in 
addition to creation, implies likeness so close that father 
and child classify as members of the same family. Our 
bodies were not made in the image of God. 

While passing through my Sunday school where a 
college woman was giving some supplementary work, I 
heard her teaching the young people that we were made 
in the image of God because we had two legs instead of 


four, and stood on end. " Why in the name of con 
science/ I thought, " do we permit anyone in our 
churches to retain such detrimental and absurd ideas ? " 
This woman was what the young men and women called 
a " crackerjack " in her college line. So I was amazed 
at her crude conceptions, until I realized that she had 
never heard an exposition of the primitive story in 
Genesis. I also remembered that I had heard it preached 
from a pulpit, that man was in the image of God because 
he had a face, and walked upright instead of going on 
all fours. Those churches that believe man has no spirit 
except his breath are necessarily confined to this mon 
strous idea; while many in our regular churches are in a 
maze of tangled thoughts. 

According to Scriptures, God is the Father of spirits. 
The " Loving Intelligent Will " is the Father of other 
loving intelligent wills. This makes every created spirit 
a God-child, or a child of God. These terms must be 
interchangeable, unless we are playing at " make- 
believe," when we say that a spirit is a child of God. 
Were not all spirits members of the God family, it would 
be useless to teach them about God; for, being of a dif 
ferent order, they would not understand. It is impossible 
to teach a horse the things of a man, because he has not 
the spirit of a man. I believe in an anthropomorphic 
God, simply because I believe in a Theomorphic man. 
God must be in man s image, because man is in God s 
image. But it is not the animal man in whose image 
God is. 


I should never believe in a religion that I was inca 
pable of experiencing. Neither could I experience a reli 
gion that was contrary to my reason. Nevertheless, mine 
is not a private religion, because I am an infinite debtor 
to the world s best thought, and to the world s best ex 
perience. Without the help of the ages I never could 
have thought or felt that which I cannot avoid think 
ing and feeling at the present time. This is not an effort 
to prove anything, but simply an attempt to picture what 
I see and feel, with the hope that someone else may see 
and feel in the same way. 

The great pity of it all is that so many people have 
never known the world s best religious thought and ex 
perience. There are those, a thousand years behind their 
age, who are launching new religions or fostering old 
ones, who are utterly oblivious to the strata upon strata 
of human achievement above them. 

Yes, God is the Father of all spirits, whether they re 
side on earth, or in heaven, or in hell. When once the 
meaning of spirit, or personality, is realized there is no 
dodging the issue. If a horse goes down the street 
keeping company with himself after this manner, " Now 
I am an old horse, and I ought to be a good old horse, 
and I wonder what the end will be," then he too is a son 
of God and our brother, though he has four, instead of 
two legs. I do not think a horse so keeps company with 
himself, but if he does, then we must own him and hope 
for the time when our brother will have something better 
than a quadruped for an instrument. 


I am often asked what angels are like. That is an 
easy question. An angel is very much like my wife. 
For they both are spirits, and children of God. My wife 
is a sister of all the angels, and if Milton s great, classi 
cal devil exists, he also is our brother, and a child of God. 
All spirits are children of God, whether good or bad, just 
because they are spirits. 

In speaking of sons, the Bible usually means the good 
children of God; yet it clearly teaches that prodigals are 
likewise sons. Earthly parents are our older brothers 
and sisters, honored and much beloved; but only God is 
the Father of our spirits. No one need fear that natural 
sonship to God makes it less imperative that we should 
become good sons. To be a bad son of God is a most 
wretched and deplorable thing in itself, and leads inevi 
tably to all deserved punishment. A good Father will 
not be slack in discipline. And furthermore, the rebel 
lious sons of God are not slow to make hell in this life, 
and that they will make no more hell after death we may 
not dare to believe. 

If the truth about the Fatherhood of God and the 
brotherhood of all spirits could enter the minds of the 
people with all that it involves, it would break the heart 
of the Church, and, we may believe, the heart of the 
world as well. As yet, however, this truth is but dimly 
realized. I once had a dear old friend, a saint, whom I 
greatly appreciated. With her white hair and charm 
ing accent she was beautiful. Her mind was richly 
stored with beautiful poetry, and her apt quotations often 


touched me deeply. Loving all the saints, she was 
equally loved by them. But one day I learned that my 
dear old saint was a saint only in spots yet she was a 
saint. The discovery came about in this way; I asked 
her if she knew of the family with four children across 
the way, who had lately come to her neighborhood, sug 
gesting that she might be useful to them. Now, what 
do you think my dear old saint said ? With a spasmodic 
jerk of the elbow, and a toss of the head, she replied, 
"No! I don t want to know such folks!" This was 
a case in which caution was unnecessary, and where real 
service might have been rendered. For the time being 
my friend had completely forgotten that her neighbors 
were God s little ones and her own brothers and sisters. 
She had forgotten that her Father was over there strug 
gling and suffering to save His children from sin and 
harm, and that He sorely needed His older daughter over 
the way to help Him. My dear old saint would not go 
across the street to help her Father whom she thought she 
loved so dearly. She did not realize that God was the 
Father of all spirits, and that all they were members of 
one family. My dear old friend has long since gone 
to her home beyond, and has learned how sadly she failed 
to comprehend the Fatherhood of God and the brother 
hood of man. This knowledge doubtless gives her many 
a heartache, and drives her forward with new zeal to 
learn the lesson that God is the Father of all spirits. 

We may be proud of our family name and social stand 
ing; we may think that we are different and apart, but 


we should remember that no one ever had more dis 
reputable children than God. All the bad people are 
His sons and daughters. True, they have dishonored His 
name, and grieved His heart, yet He does not disown 
them ; rather He follows them into all the dens and haunts 
of vice asking them to return home. And as fast as we 
become good sons, we join the Father in His love quest 
for His prodigal sons, who are our brothers. 

Possibly I am a direct descendant of King Swain of 
Denmark who conquered England in the tenth century. 
There is no evidence to that effect, but he is the first 
Swain of whom I know in history. However this may 
be, with every other self-conscious being I can lift my 
head and say with justifiable pride and gladness of heart, 
" God, who makes the world, is my Father." How won 
derful you are, O God-child! and what a pity it would 
be if anything should drag you down from your divine 
possibilities ! 

3. Where is God? 

When I once asked a company of young people where 
my spirit was they promptly answered, 

" In your body." I inquired, 

" In a part of my body, or in all of it ? Am I to under 
stand that my spirit is just the shape and size of my 
body, and that when I am thin of flesh my spirit is not 
as large as when I am fleshy? " 

" No," said they, " we do not like that." 


" Oh ! your spirit is in your brain," remarked one 
young fellow. 

" Now, then, I have it," said I, " my spirit is just the 
shape and size of the cavity in my skull." 

" No," he replied, " we don t know how it is." And 
they did not know, because no one had explained it to 
them. This is what I told them: 

" The spirit is not in the body as a hand is in a glove, 
for that is one thing inside another thing. Spirit has no 
dimensions. If any boy has a rule in his pocket let him 
measure my conscious will/ and tell me how long it is," 
They promptly replied that it could not be done. So I 
continued : 

" If my self-conscious will occupies no space, then I, 
the spirit, am neither in my body nor out of my body. 
I am nowhere. Where applies to things and not to 
spirit. The book is in the room because it occupies a 
definite space. When we say that our spirits are in our 
bodies we simply mean that our wills are capable of com 
manding our bodies and making them act. While our 
spirits are nowhere, yet they do get expressed somewhere. 
For all practical purposes, spirits are where their instru 
ments express them in time and space." 

At this point in my remarks, I turned aside, and poked 
sharply with my forefinger a friend who stood near. In 
reply to his inquiring look I said : 

" I did not poke you. It was this finger." (Then to 
the boys) " Did I poke him? My finger touched him be 
cause I wished it. My will got expressed right at the 


end of the finger, and therefore that is where my spirit 
seemed to be." 

Again I punched my friend, but this time with a long 
stick, and when he turned sharply about, I said : 

" I did not jab you, it was the stick. But the stick," 
I explained, " had become the instrument of my will; 
therefore my will got expressed at a greater distance from 
my body. The stick was really the lengthening of my 

I then told them of the man in Virginia who was talk 
ing by wireless telephone. It is reported that when he 
spoke, one man in Paris, and another in Honolulu, re 
plied at the same time, as if he were in both places : 

"Hello, Jake, is that you?" Had there been a mil 
lion receivers in the encircling space with people listen 
ing, it would have seemed to every one of them that he 
was present. Though expressed in a million remote 
places at one time, he would not have been divided into 
a million persons ; neither would he have been spread out 
to reach all the places occupied by his listeners. His 
instruments would have been spread out, but not his soul. 
His soul would still have remained sharply self-conscious. 
That concentrated, self-conscious will is what we mean 
by the soul. The soul is always a definite, personal will, 
to itself and to the one or the many with whom it is 
communicating, however short or extended its instru 

That the young people grasped this conception of spirit, 
was made evident in a subsequent review. 


So to the question, " Where is God? " we must answer 
that, as naked spirit, He is not anywhere, but that His 
instruments may express Him everywhere. Where His 
instruments end, or whether nature ends at all, no scien 
tist knows. The Divine Spirit is no larger than the 
human spirit, for neither of them has any largeness at 
all. God is simply more conscious, more loving, and 
more intelligent than we; and His instruments are in 
finitely more vast than ours. Developing a soul is not 
making it larger, but making it more loving, intelligent, 
and purposeful. However, the development of the soul 
does require the enlargement of its instruments. An 
undeveloped person may be very conscious of his body 
and its wants and scarcely at all aware of his soul and 
its needs. To be infinitely self -knowing, like God, is the 
most concentrated and intensified reality conceivable. So 
the minister s wife of whom we have spoken, was mis 
taken in thinking God a rarified substance like ether, 
spread out to fill all nature. With her materialistic con 
ception of God, she thought Him so spacially big that she 
could neither know Him nor love Him, whereas He is 
no more spread out than the mathematical point that has 
no dimensions. To give complete satisfaction to our 
friend, it will be necessary to show her the various ways 
of approaching this Loving Will, the Father of her own 
invisible self ; but for this we are not yet ready. 

Dr. Lyman Abbott tells of sitting at the table one day 
with his little grandson when the latter said, " Grand 
father, how can God be in Cornwall and in Newburgh at 


the same time ? I touched him on the forehead and said, 
Are you there ? Yes. I touched him on the 
shoulder, Are you there ? Yes. I touch d him on 
the knee, Are you there? Yes. That ; the way/ 
I replied, God can be in Cornwall and in Newburgh at the 
same time/ He considered a moment, and shyly smiled 
his assent." 

I am well aware that we have not said enough about 
God to make Him satisfyingly near and personal to our 
love; but it is a start, and we still have the pleasure of 
traveling together over a beautiful road until we shall 
stand face to face with Him whom our souls seek. We 
should reach this desired goal in the fourth chapter. But 
if we become impatient, we shall spoil the journey, for 
we are traveling as fast as we can go without having 
a wreck. 

Here, a little incident from actual experience may be 
helpful. My eldest son, when a little child, would not 
say a prayer. This, beyond doubt, was abnormal, be 
cause most little children are willing to pray. As my 
own religious life had given me so much trouble, I con 
cluded that he had inherited my frailties, and not his 
mother s virtues. Being perplexed by his attitude I would 
sometimes take him out to see the stars, when I would 
speak of the greatness and goodness of God. Then, once 
in awhile, though not often, I could get him to pray. 
We did not wish him to be unduly serious, certainly not 
solemn, but it did puzzle us to know why he would not 
say a prayer. So one day when he came into my study 


1 thought, " Now is my chance." Taking him up, I set 
him on the desk before me, which permitted him to look 
out of the window upon the apple trees that were a 
bower of beauty in their spring blossoms. 

"Isn t this a beautiful world?" I said. 

" Yes," was his reply. 

"Who made it?" 

" God." 

" Well, wouldn t it be nice to pray a little? " I asked. 

" Oh," with a tone of aversion, " I don t want to 

" You don t like to talk to God? " 

" Huh ! " scornfully. " I can t talk to God, He s up in 

" No, God is in your heart." At that he rose to his 
knees and said, with an incredulous look on his face : 

" Well, I guess I can t jump into my mouth! " This 
made me feel that he was born a little pagan, but at the 
same time it gave me one clue to the difficulty. He made 
a difference between talking and praying. That he liked 
to talk, I knew, but now it appeared that, to his mind, of 
fering prayers to some one so far away was quite a dif 
ferent thing. Then I asked him if he thought I loved 

1 Yes, I know you love me," he said, putting his arms 
about my neck, and giving me a squeeze. 

" Well," I asked, " can you see my love? " 

" Yes." 

" Are you sure you can see it? " 


" Why, of course." 

" Well, then, put your hand on it." 

" I can t see your love, but, I know you love me, 

Yes, you do know that I love you, but you can t see 
my love, neither can you see me." 

"Yes, I can!" and his hand literally flew to my 

" Oh, no, that is not papa ; that is flesh. You didn t 
think I was flesh, did you? No, you can t see me be 
cause I am love, or spirit." Here I carefully felt of 
his head, saying, " Now, that is a bone box, but I don t 
talk to a bone box when I talk to you." Next, feeling 
of his ear, I remarked, " Isn t that a funny little thing, 
a piece of gristle ! but I don t talk to gristle when 
I speak to you." Bringing my hand down over his face, 
I continued, " Here is some flesh with bones under it, 
but I don t talk to flesh and bones when I talk to you. 
No, I can t see you. Yet, my love knows your love, and 
your love knows my love. When my love feels your 
love, then we say you are in my heart; and when our 
love feels God s love, then He is in our hearts. Isn t 
it beautiful, that my love knows and likes to talk to 
your love, and your love knows and likes to talk to my 
love, and that we like to talk to God s love? " He didn t 
wait for me to ask him to pray, but at once began in a 
loud whisper, saying : 

" O God, help me to be a good boy, and to love papa 
and mamma, and everybody, and to do everything that is 


good. 5 Then looking up with a smile, he asked, " Do you 
know what I was doing? " I said : 

" I think you were talking to the Lord." With evi 
dent satisfaction he admitted that he was. 

Two days after this he came into my study while I 
was reading a book and put his hand on my knee. Giving 
my knee a hard shove, he said: 

This isn t papa, is it ? This is papa s body. 3 My 
book went out of the way in a hurry, I can assure you, 
and there was a dear little upturned face smiling, which 
said, " We are spirits, aren t we, papa ? " Never after 
that did he refuse to pray. 

Some years ago a successful minister, about forty- 
five years of age, consecrated, eloquent, and revered by 
his people, asked me how I conceived of God when I 
prayed. The conversation revealed the fact that he was 
struggling with all the questions that troubled the little 
boy. This unhappy condition was due to the fact that 
theology begins too far down the stream, leaving un 
answered and unconsidered the best questions of all, the 
questions of children and fools. 

Once, when a little child, I was told by my mother that 
God saw all my naughty thoughts. Immediately, I asked, 
"Where is God?" She answered, "Everywhere." 
"In the sky?" "Yes." "In this house?" "Yes." 
"In the logs of the walls?" "Yes." "In the table 
leg?" "Yes." "If I were to saw the table leg off, 
would I hurt God?" " Sh-h, be careful what you say 
about God." 


That last question was as legitimate as the previous 
ones, and was asked with equal sincerity. It clearly 
revealed my materialistic conceptions of God. My pres 
ent opinion is that it would not give Him pain to saw 
off the leg of a table, but that it would give Him pain to 
amputate a human leg. God knows the thrill of a nerve 
better than we do, or else He has much to learn. 

A relative, visiting in my home, remarked that she was 
utterly confused about God ; and that she had been read 
ing some of the new cults of the day with the hope of 
finding something satisfying. Consequently, a little con 
versation followed on how God was immanent in all 
nature. So, when she put her little boy to bed that 
night, she told him that God was not away off in heaven 
but near, and in everything that was good. To this the 
little fellow replied, " Oh, gee ! then He is in strawberry 
shortcake, isn t He ? " The poor mother was at the 
end of her wits, and felt that the devotion which fol 
lowed was not very successful. We teach that God is 
in everything, without comprehending how He is in 
anything, and herein lies the difficulty. 

The question of how God is in nature was again be 
fore us. Some one suggested, "If He is in strawberry 
shortcake, is He likewise in the garbage can? " " Hor 
rors ! " exclaimed another. A third voice, " Now where 
are we ! do we believe, or do we not believe that God 
is in all nature? " 

A garbage can may be most repulsive if allowed to 
breed life ; yet chemically and biologically viewed, its con- 


tents are more beautiful than any fairyland ever de 
scribed. The odor and sight are repugnant to us, be 
cause the refuse is not wholesome food for human be 
ings; but to some other animals it is more delicate than 
a perfume bottle. The other animals would probably 
think the perfume horrid stuff. The " Loving Intelli 
gent Will " is not in nature in the same way that straw 
berries are in shortcake. After that manner God is 
neither in nor out of anything. This, however, will 
be made more plain in the consideration of the next 

Whether or not the reader likes these illustrations, at 
least they are out of the raw experience of life, and re 
veal the crude conceptions that linger concerning God 
and His relations to the universe. A child can ask many 
of the vital questions concerning religion and life be 
fore he can count ten; and if his questions are answered, 
he will ask almost all the religious questions before he 
has learned the multiplication table. This is because 
nothing else is so near to him as life and religion. The 
mathematical faculty is a later development. 

I should never crowd a child in his acquisition of reli 
gious knowledge; but when he wants to know, if we 
ourselves know the way, it is much better to start him 
on the right track. 

4. What does God do ? 

" What does God do all day? " asked a little boy of his 


We used to think that He made the universe in a week, 
and that ever since He had been keeping Sunday. Dur 
ing this long Sabbath we believed Him to be engaged 
in religious work; though He may have regulated the 
universe a bit now and then. Now, however, we see that 
nothing is finished. Even new worlds are being formed, 
and the old ones are constantly being changed. It is 
deeper truth to recognize God as making the universe all 
the time, to think of nature as God at work. For, 
should God cease working there would be no world. 
We used to say, and rightly, too, that the world is 
crammed so full of meaning and purpose that it must 
have had a wise Creator; that there never could have 
been such a world without a God. With equal propriety, 
we may now say that there could no more be a God with 
out a world than a world without a God; because a God 
who was so indolent and purposeless as to think noth 
ing, and feel nothing, and project nothing, would not be 
worthy of a second thought. 

At last we have come to the point where we can see 
how science, in a peculiar way, has saved religion. Men 
have always been pondering over God s relation to the 
wonderful forces of nature that envelop us. They could 
get along pretty well with either a God or a world, but 
found it difficult to harmonize both thoughts. There 
appeared to be a spirit world over against the great 
lump of a dirt world. The bulk of things often seemed 
such a hindrance that men dreamed of deliverance by 
-ultimately getting rid of the material universe altogether. 


Even God, it was thought by some philosophers, did the 
best He could with the stubborn clay at His disposal. 
When my brother was killed, I could not decide whether 
God or the great machine world killed him. Just when 
the world acted, or just when God acted, was to me a 
profound mystery. For, in my thought, the world was 
a great automatic machine, that ran entirely by itself, 
except when God occasionally interfered. Whether He 
was a sort of spiritual ether penetrating all things, or 
what, I could not at all decide. But like the Yale pro 
fessor, I still believed that if He existed, He must have a 
visible nucleus all His own in heaven. God, at the center, 
was a ghost, whom His ghost children would find only 
after death. According to the common teaching, Jesus 
had left His Father and happy home in heaven, having 
come to this sinful earth to be clothed with a physical 
body. Of course, the Father s spirit was represented as 
being with Jesus, but the Father Himself had remained 
in His far-away home. So my confusion was worse 
confounded by thinking. 

During many centuries, scholars were grappling with 
the thought of spirit; and they did some good thinking 
in spite of their mistakes. Spirit was being more and 
more clearly defined. It increasingly appeared to be a 
self-conscious will, but how this Infinite Will was related 
to the great lump of nature, was the supreme difficulty. 

Finally the scientists took the lump into the laboratories, 
when behold! it melted as quickly as a lump of sugar 


melts in the mouth of a boy. They discovered that na 
ture was no lump at all, but a bundle of beautiful, com 
plex energies. Nature as -substance scientists have driven 
to the vanishing point; so much so that no great physi 
cist would dare to say that there is any substance. Yet 
nature was never so potent in the lives of men as since 
it has been reduced to invisible energies. The knowl 
edge of these invisible forces and the power to manipu 
late them make men almost like gods in their achieve 

The present situation, then, is a little like- that of put 
ting the tunnel under the Hudson. One gang beginning 
on the Jersey side, and another on the New York side, 
they bored down and onward, sometimes going far be 
low the water ; but when the workers came together under 
the Hudson, they had varied from each other only by the 
least fraction of an inch. Just so the philosophers and 
theologians began on the spirit side, reducing spirit to 
purposeful energy; while the scientists began on the na 
ture side reducing it to purposeful energy ; and when the 
two sets of workers broke through, they were apparently 
at the same point. The Christian scholar looked up with 
joy and amazement, saying, " Why, this invisible, pur 
poseful energy of nature is simply what God is thinking, 
and feeling, and willing. Whether there is any substance 
we do not know, but whether there is, or is not, nature 
is Will in ccction. God -continually purposes all these 
energies and they go forth. Light-energy, and all other 


beautiful forces constituting nature, are the modes of 
God s continuous will." 

" What does God do all day ? " Why, everything that 
is being done in the universe, except that which other 
wills are doing. And the child will is only combining 
his Father s energies and thinking his Father s thoughts. 
The child never works apart from his Father s enfold 
ing powers. If we could comprehend all the dynamics 
of the universe, we should know what God is doing on 
that plane of His activities. Or, if we could know all 
His loving thoughts and higher purposes concerning His 
children, who are striving and building in the midst of 
these simple, enfolding energies, we should know what 
God is doing in the moral realm. The wall -of partition 
is broken down, the veil is rent in twain; we live in the 
Holy Presence, since there is no other place to live. 
With Browning, we feel that the atmosphere " Is the 
clear, dear breath of God who loveth us." The pave 
ment on which we walk is the power of the Great Will 
bearing us up. Likewise, the buildings along the street 
are more of His beneficent energies, providing shelter 
and rest for His loved ones. Our bodies are also His 
energies, highly sensitized, through which we become 
beautifully aware of our surroundings. All the vitality 
in the quivering beams of ships, and all the propelling 
force in their engines, is but the power of a Will, and that 
Will is the Father of our spirits. Leaving out of mind 
for the present the thought of the vast universe, measure, 
if you can, the ocean in its breadth and depth, which in 


its ceaseless rising and falling raises and lowers ship- 
cities as if they were snowflakes; and then remember that, 
if rightly applied, there is power enough in each cup full 
of water to destroy a ship, and that all the energy of the 
boundless worlds is but the will of Him in whom we 
" live and move and have our being." Having done 
this, if you are not something less than a man, you will 
fall down and adore in wonder, love and praise. To be 
brought face to face with God in the beauty and awful- 
ness of nature is the only cure for the irreverence of this 

But some one says, " This makes God too great. 
Have you looked, and staggered before the limitless 
heavens ? n Yes, but is it not claimed that God is In 
finite ? and we have not yet found the equal of in 
finity. With all our insistence upon the infinitude of 
God, perhaps it offends some to think of Him as being 
equal to His universe, or even to the little part of it 
that we can imagine. However, God must be greater 
than all His works. 

This is pantheism, says another. No, pantheism 
though containing many beautiful truths is, nevertheless, 
a golden mist. Its advocates have eliminated personality, 
they have broken the mast of their ship, and all the rig 
gings have fallen down with it. Being the perpetual 
cause of all things, Self-conscious Will is the greatest 
fact in the universe. There is a clear distinction between 
God and His deeds, even as there is a distinction between 
myself and what I am now thinking and doing. This 


Creative Will is what the intelligent Christian means by 
the term God. He conceives of this Will of the universe 
as being the Father af all other wills. We are not to 
think of God as making a dirt planet which He has 
tossed off into space as something separate from His will. 
He never put His children on- such an isolated Earth as 
that would be, to roam about and care for themselves as 
best they might. The world is the complex energy of 
His will never-ceasing, with which He enfolds His chil 
dren. He carries them in His laving powers and will not 
let them go. This is His cosmic relation to us ; but it is 
by no means the only relation which He sustains to His 
children. His more personal relationship is equally 
beautiful and necessary. 

Something like this twofold relationship exists between 
man and man. We know that it is best for us to build 
railroads, though many are sure to be killed by them how 
ever careful we may be. Yet we should be something 
more than railroad operators; we should be personal 
friends and, if occasion should arise, minister to the wants 
of those who are injured by our railroads. 

So God must either will a cosmos, or not will it. He 
cannot obliterate a part of the world, every time one of 
His wilful or ignorant children gets in the way. It is not 
even best for His children that He should do so. It is 
far better to have a definite and orderly world, though 
it may hurt many. Yet God never forsakes His injured 
children, but leads them out of their injuries into some 
thing better, if they are willing. 


Comforting as these thoughts are, we must yet travel 
a long way before we come to a completely satisfying 
idea of God. However, this is not discouraging, because 
we like to travel when the prospect grows more pleasing 
at each stage of the journey. 

Some think there must be a dirt world because they see 
it. In a way I seem to see my wife when I look at her 
picture; yet I only see a bit of paper irregularly faded. 
Likewise a shining light appears to be a complete thing 
in itself, whereas the sun, doubtless, is as dark as black 
ness. The light which the scientist studies is waves of 
energy, traveling at the rate of one hundred and eighty- 
six thousand miles per second, but that is not the sweet 
something that we experience as light. The light com 
ing from the sun is not shiny until our sensations are 
added. And even then, it is our feelings that are bril 
liant because our nerves were struck by these rapid waves 
of energy. When we think we see a real face, it is only 
a shadow on the retina, of the eye; which eye is only 
another bundle of energies, and not the substance that 
it appears to be. 

We live in a picture world, produced by God s energies 
beating upon other energies which He has intimately as 
sociated with our wills. We thank God for these pic 
tures because they are the visible language of " loving 
intelligent wills/ wills that in themselves are silent and 
invisible. Yet these wills are known in consciousness as 
a bit of final reality. They are like unto God who 
causes the vital energies that result in the pictures of a 


living, rational experience. Experience, therefore, with 
its inner consciousness and its outer symbol, or picture, 
is all we know. So when they would take us out of 
personal experience into a universal " substance " called 
spirit, they are offering to take us out of the known into 
the unknown ; for they do not know whether there is any 

" Why, then," some may ask, " does God combine His 
energies to form a poisonous rattlesnake?" God has 
expressed everything imaginable; the beautiful and ugly, 
the safe and harmful, the pleasant and painful, the gentle 
and terrible, and all these are but the alphabet of a soul. 
If He had given us nothing but abstract definitions, we 
never should have learned the meaning of anything; and 
scarcely more, if He had given us only the beautiful and 
pleasant without their opposites. But He has made us 
feel the meaning, so that it may be real to us. From 
this marvelous alphabet which He has provided, we 
learn to spell, then to read, and finally to live. When 
we have learned the meaning of poison and its opposite, 
we may kill the rattlesnake, or cause its energies to dis 
solve and pass into something more beautiful and safe. 
Thus we become more and more immune from all that 
is ugly and harmful, and more appreciatively attached 
to all that is beautiful and good. The ugly and harmful 
were desirable things to know in contrast with the beauti 
ful and good, that we might reject the one, and cleave 
to the other. The deeper meaning of things thus learned 
will give significance to our beautiful world long after 


we have passed beyond the evil which we have come to 
loathe. I am entirely convinced that this so-called evil 
world with its epidemics, earthquakes, and cyclones is 
the best conceivable place in which to begin a soul ; not the 
best possible world as yet, for it is our business to help 
make it better. Neither should we forget that the ter 
rible is often the overture to us of some mighty, benefi 
cent energy which we have not yet learned to use. 

Again we affirm that God is doing everything that oc 
curs in the universe, except those things which are being 
done by His children. Nothing ever occurs that is not 
directly or indirectly the act of some will. 

5. If the Ancients made their gods, how do we know 
that we are not making our God? 

Doubtless, the great fallacy in this question is the sup 
position that the Ancients made their gods. No one 
ever made his God or his gods; for all men have the 
same identical God, living and moving and having their 
being in Him. They have Him regardless of whether 
they know either His name or His character. Since 
there is no other God or thing to have, all must have 
Him. Neither can they avoid being conscious of Him, 
nor escape having opinions concerning Him. All reli 
gious opinions, however sane or grotesque, are about the 
same God. The Ancients, being conscious of our God 
and their God, were sometimes comforted by His pres 
ence, while at other times they were greatly frightened. 


As they could not escape Him they tried to explain Him ; 
and in the act of explaining, they made a theology and 
not a god. Whoever expresses a religious opinion is 
guilty of starting a theology. Even the Ancients were 
moved by an objective reality, and not by a mere idea. 
Though their idea often failed to describe the reality 
with accuracy, yet if the reality had disappeared, the idea 
would have perished from among them. It seemed to 
them that there was a god of thunder and, according to 
our interpretation of the universe, there was; for if our 
God had not been there thundering, they never would 
have thought of a god of thunder. Neither were they 
mistaken when they thought there was a god of harvest ; 
because our God was there making their harvests grow 
as He does ours, and was feeding them as He feeds us. 
We all make worse mistakes than that. These crude 
men may be excused for thinking that a crashing thunder 
storm was a big enough task for one god; or that the 
fructifying of all vegetation was ample employment for 

Those early men worshiped our God in divided form 
simply because they could not think of a God great 
enough to carry on all the diverse activities which they 
beheld. Another reason why these crude children con 
ceived of Him as many gods was that they could not 
understand how one person could be so gentle and ter 
rible at the same time. Nevertheless, they would not 
have had gentle and terrible gods if our God had not 
been both gentle and terrible. They, therefore, no more 


made their gods than they made their stars. Their gods 
were our God, and their stars were our stars. We call 
their theology mythology, and their astronomy astrology. 
Yet mythology is crude theology, and astrology is un 
scientific astronomy. Astrology arose because men were 
influenced by real stars, and were impelled to offer such 
explanations as they were able. Without astrology we 
never would have had astronomy. In like manner men 
were disquieted by the same Infinite Power that dis 
turbs us to-day, and were moved by that Power to offer 
their best interpretation. But without their mythology 
we never would have had our theology. The develop 
ment of astronomy will never cease while there are in 
telligent men for stars to shine upon. Nor will the idea 
of God cease to expand while men are enfolded in the 
vast purposeful energy called the universe. 

Our early brothers were trying to comprehend and in 
terpret our God who was as present to them as He is to 
us. And here we are in the year nineteen hundred and 
twenty, A. D., still trying to expound Him; because the 
need is not less now than then. Those who know most 
about God best realize the need of knowing more. When 
we no longer try to increase our knowledge of God, we 
shall cease to love Him. 

6. May we not be communing with a mere idea? 

No, that is impossible. Because, whatever it is, it is 
at least an objective reality. Its grip is that of the 


universe. We can not let it go because it will not let 
us go. We are worshiping more than an idea; we are 
worshiping what we live in ; we call it God ; we think it is 
" Loving Intelligent Will." We believe that the power 
that enfolds us knows itself and us. And that we are 
not mistaken in this, our assurance deepens as our knowl 
edge increases. We find that if we do not neglect or 
stultify any portion of our nature, our insight grows. 
If we invest our all on the conception of a spiritual uni 
verse we get astonishing results to the individual and to 
society. Then follows more insight and the incentive to 
invest again our talents that have doubled in the using of 
them. Of this, however, we shall have more to say later. 
For the present suffice it to say, the object of my wor 
ship is the great reality; all the reality there is, except 
my will and the other wills whom I call brothers. To 
state clearly what we mean, before trying to tell why we 
believe it, is of the utmost importance. With an ex 
perimental knowledge of God, and with ideas of the uni 
verse that harmonize therewith, our heads and hearts 
are thoroughly anchored in Him. If our every line of 
vision converges to this end, our insight gives us God 
as the great enfolding reality. Our further task is to 
make the idea of God clear and to show how the lines 
of vision converge. In this task, modern knowledge is 
the Christian s best ally. 



W hat is man? 

Who is man? 

Would the absence of man cripple God? 

What could an infinite God care for such a little speck? 

Is not socialism the best religion there is? 

i. What is man? 

We do not fully know " what " and " where " God is 
until we know what man is, and how God and man are 
working through each other. Our knowledge of God 
grows with our knowledge of man. We can understand 
neither without knowing both. At every stage of the 
discussion our subject is made complex by the intertwin 
ing of the human and the Divine. Hence, this chapter 
-while introducing man takes us deeper into the life 
of God. 

Man does not have a soul. Neither does the sun set. 
Though we know better, yet for convenience, we con 
tinue to speak of the sun as setting. For the same rea 
son we still say that man has a soul when we mean that 
he is a soul. Soul is person, body is instrument. The 



instrument does not have the person, the person has the 
instrument. The soul is the child of God. How 
strangely, therefore, it would sound to ask : Does a man 
have a child of God? The reverse question, however, 
is perfectly fitting: Does a child of God have a body? 

Man is a spirit, a soul, or a person. All men are alike 
in that which constitutes them personalities, or self-con 
scious wills. It is in their individuality that men differ. 
In the first place, some are more developed than others; 
and then they have different tastes, different knowledge, 
different temperaments, and different occupations. This 
diversity of individuality clearly distinguishes one man 
from another, and at the same time greatly enriches 

Like his Father, man is a loving intelligent will Like 
Him, too, he is always silent and invisible, save as his 
instruments express his thought and wish in time and 
space. So far, Father and child should be defined in the 
same terms ; for however they may differ in other respects, 
they are alike in being self-conscious. If either is be 
low self-conscious will, he is something less than a per 
son. Though man, as we find him, is not always so very 
loving, nor so very intelligent, yet that is what he is in 
his best estate. So far as we can understand, the sinless 
man soul lifted to the infinite power would be the same 
as God. This spiritual definition does not imply that 
either God or man exists, or could exist, without form and 
outward expression. 


2. Who is man? 

We think of Man, the soul, as a child of God, or a 
god-child. Therefore, he is worthy of his brother s 
highest esteem, and his Father s tenderest affection. He 
is a very son of the infinite God; and all created spirits, 
being his brothers, are members of one family. Again 
we say, " O god-child, how wonderful you are, and 
what a pity it would be if you failed to recognize your 
divinity, or allowed anything to drag you down from 
your divine possibilities ! " Man must know himself if he 
would attain unto the goal of life. 

Though man is a soul, yet without the body he can 
not so much as come to self-consciousness. Just how 
or when a soul begins, we do not know; but it does not 
appear until some time after the body is born. A new 
born babe can neither see, feel, nor hear, with any intelli 
gent meaning of the words. It will stare into the most 
glaring light without intelligence enough to shut its eyes. 
It does not recognize objects for some time, and when it 
does, misses the object for which it reaches. The in 
fant is likewise slow in distinguishing sounds or names. 
If the soul exists when the body is born, it is only a latent 
personality which has not yet come to self-realization. 
Personality is self-conscious will, and this the child has 
not yet achieved. 

Let us here consider the relation of a new-born body 
to God and the universe. God begins His creative ac 
tivities in what the scientists call stellar ether, where His 


energies combine and recombine in a more and more com 
plex world, until the solar system appears with planets in 
the condition of our earth. After more combinations and 
recombinations, out on the surface of all things His ac 
tivities blossom in the finest bit of organism, the sensi 
tized thing which we call the human body. This body, 
the flower of all God s activities in nature, requires all 
nature for its support. Furthermore, the chemical ener 
gies constituting the body itself are what God is think 
ing, and feeling, and doing. Strictly speaking, it is His 
body, the first instrument in the whole order of develop 
ment, the only body on earth capable of articulate speech 
and loving deed. If God did not continually will the 
body and all the supporting energies of the universe, the 
body would cease to be. Before the man soul appears at 
all, we have God s world culminating in what we call the 
human body. When a man soul awakes, it is in God s 
own bosom, in His own body. Man awakens in God s 
enfolding energies, and not outside them; for outside of 
God he could not exist. 

It is amusing to hear a little boy speak of his father s 
automobile as " my car " ; but it isn t his, even though 
the father is pleased to see the little fellow spread him 
self in it and claim ownership. Yet it is his too, in the 
sense that the father gladly shares it with him. And 
some day when the child is too big to be a little boy, and 
too little to be a big boy, he may take his father s car and 
run it into the ditch. But even the wreck is his father s 
wreck. In the same way, if we live at all it is in our Fa- 


ther s enfolding instrument. His body is ours because He 
gladly shares it with us. However, if we do not use it 
in harmony with His will, we wreck it in the ditch. 

God wakes His child to consciousness in His own body, 
by making all kinds of impressions upon the sense or 
gans. There are many rappings on the door, and flashes 
of light through the windows until the soul wakes. And 
when the soul becomes conscious, God may not cease 
beating upon the instrument with myriad forces, lest His 
child fall asleep. 

Some morning when a loved form bends over the infant 
body, the baby smiles, and the soul begins to appear. 
That is a wonderful day when the baby gives its first 
smile. Little by little the child becomes aware of itself 
and of its mother. Should the baby be fortunate enough 
to have two or three brothers and sisters, he will learn 
some day, when he is a little older, that they all want 
the same thing at the same time. Then he will be very 
conscious of other wills. 

We know that other wills exist because they live in our 
enveloping world, and constantly use it in a way that we 
approve or resent. If they did not know and disturb 
our world, we should not be aware of them even if they 
existed. We know that other wills exist because they sell 
us coats that they have made, and cut down trees in our 
forests, and shape them into things that have meaning 
for us and them. They modulate the atmosphere in 
which we live, producing sounds that stand for objects 
with which we are familiar. They learn our words and 


facial expressions, and use them to make us feel happy 
or uncomfortable. Nature is the common instrument of 
all wills. 

As we cannot come to the consciousness of ourselves, 
nor of other wills, except through the body and its en 
vironments, neither can we develop the soul without culti 
vating the physical instrument and that which surrounds 
it. There is always a corresponding development be 
tween soul and body. As Browning says, 

" We know not whether soul helps body more than 
body helps soul." 

We simply know that soul and body develop together, 
and that if either is injured the other is harmed. A 
physical change in our bodies takes place with every 
thought. We cannot silently love without disturbing the 
gray matter. We make paths through our nervous sys 
tem with every thought and deed. If we had a means 
of photographing all the muscular and nervous conditions 
wrought in our bodies by our thoughts and actions, they 
would correspond to every growth of spirit. The face 
becomes beautiful with a beautiful soul, and the body 
becomes refined by every improvement of the spirit. 

I once shook hands with the great French organist, 
Guilmant. When I clasped his hand I forgot everything 
else; the hand was so soft, and yet so firm! All the 
inspiration and purpose of his soul had been registered in 
his body. And what a hand it was ! I shall never for 
get that touch. It gave new meaning to Tennyson s beau 
tiful line, " Oh for the touch of a vanished hand ! " Our 


looks, smiles, accents, and very gait become the expres 
sion of the soul. 

We once had a maid who came home in the dejected 
state following intoxication. When I appeared she said : 

" I has me faults the same as others, but me heart is 
all right." Now, could her heart be right and her body 
wrong ? Can we have a pure soul and an unclean body ? 
Can we have an honest heart and a pilfering hand? Cer 
tainly not. For as the pure soul cleanses the body, so the 
degraded body pollutes the soul. Soul and body must 
grow together, and alike. Sometimes we speak of a 
purely spiritual experience apart from all physical excit 
ability; but such a thing is impossible, because every 
spiritual thought has its beautiful, physical accompani 
ment. The physical may run riot, as with some musicians 
who are principally noise and bluster; but the fact still 
remains that the most bilious and cold philosopher en 
joys his gentle nervous thrill. 

All worthy education means the spiritualizing of the 
body. Both before death, and after, the good man has a 
spiritual body. Not a spirit body, but a spiritual, a re 
fined and sensitive instrument of the spirit. Through 
out eternity man will be spiritualizing his body, or else 
degrading it. 

We soon outgrow our immediate bodies, and find it 
necessary to augment them with all the forces of nature. 
These enlarged bodies must likewise be spiritualized or 
they will pervert the soul, as is proved by every de 
graded form of institutional life. 


The early man dimly realized that if he could get a 
larger hand, he would be a greater man. So, augment 
ing his hand with a club, he achieved a new growth in 
mind and character. Finding himself a greater man, he 
tried once more to increase his hand. Next, finding a 
sharp stone with which he could hack down small trees, 
he created a new mental and moral demand for a still 
finer instrument of his spirit. Then, in turn, he aug 
mented his hand with bronze and iron until all great 
thundering mills and all cunning tools appeared as the 
mighty hand of the human will. This required an enor 
mous soul growth in knowledge and character, and a 
corresponding growth in social consciousness and self- 
consciousness. To further our soul growth there is still 
a pressing demand for enlarged instruments. So it must 
ever be an even race between soul growth and hand 

In the same way, man developed soul and legs. It 
became necessary to make swifter legs or suffer a dwarf 
ing of his soul. Consequently, he increased his speed 
with cam els and horses ; but even these became inadequate 
for his soul s growth. Then ensued a race of soul and 
legs, until to-day automobiles, steam cars, and every 
means of swift locomotion are but the augmented legs 
of man. The growing man soul is still in quest of 
swifter means of locomotion, and as these appear so 
ciety is changed to its very foundations. New trades, 
new mental powers, new moral conditions confront him 
everywhere ; and still he is speeding up. 


When man made for himself far-seeing eyes in the 
telescope, the heavens opened; and what he saw in the 
heavens made for him a new earth. Then making for 
himself a short-seeing eye in the microscope, he discov 
ered within and beneath things a new world, which in 
turn was a vast commentary on the heavens above. 
Likewise it may be truthfully said that soul and eyes 
have made an even race in their development. The same 
is true of soul and ears. Said a great building contractor 
of Chicago thirty-five years ago, " No man in the past 
ever dreamed of such a business as we are conducting, 
for it would have been impossible without the telephone." 
The telephone is but the enlargement of man s ears and 
mouth. This contractor moved men and materials, at 
will, over a radius of a hundred miles. Even the musical 
soul found a new incentive when the mouth was enlarged 
by piano, pipe organ, and orchestra. Every enlargement 
of the mouth calls for new musical skill in complex tech 
nique, and in finer inspiration and fuller elaboration. In 
short, every man soul is in quest of omnipresence. Liv 
ing as he does in his Father s enfolding energies, he can 
know himself, and grow himself, only so far as he makes 
the instruments of his Father s will the instruments of 
his own will. The man soul is in the process of taking 
on the whole universe as his enlarged body. Two hun 
dred pounds is quite large enough for the little body which 
he ever carries, and cares for, but to be a growing son of 
God he must progressively make the universe his aug 
mented body. At night he may lay off his big body and 


rest ; but in the morning he must put on his larger body, 
the universe, as he puts on his clothes and his boots, and 
go forth to live and work with God, his Father. 

3. Would the absence of man cripple God,? 

Yes, the absence of man would thoroughly cripple God. 
Without the possibility of a family, God would just as 
well never have been. This is not an unbecoming or 
irreverent remark, -but a statement that is very pleasing 
to God; it vindicates everything that is highest in His 
Holy Nature. His wisdom, character, and love are all 
involved in His purpose to have a family. 

If we eliminate the thought of His family, what wis 
dom is there in anything God has made? The produc 
tion of coal is a wonderful display of wisdom, love, and 
power; but apart from the thought of children who would 
discover the coal and put it to all its marvelous uses, 
what motive could there have been in such an act? God, 
as a solitary will in the universe, never intended to mine 
coal, warm houses, cook food, or fire engines. All the 
marvelous by-products of coal could have no value or 
meaning apart from a complex society ; but with a family 
in mind the production of coal becomes a sacrament 
worthy of a God, and lays the foundation of a kingdom, 
all glorious in wisdom, love, and power. 

Iron, likewise, has a rational, moral, and social signifi 
cance beyond all power to express. Its uses, all the way 
from steel bridges and engines to the hair springs of 


watches, suggest the imagination of a mind infinite and 
loving. The human family never could have climbed to 
glory except on an iron stair; but take away the family, 
and iron means nothing. 

The large part that wood has supplied in the develop 
ment and happiness of the race is beyond the imagination 
of any but an infinite mind. To what infinite uses it has 
been and may yet be put, from the homeliest utilities to 
organs and violins ! Soft woods, hard woods, and pre 
cious woods have entered into the very warp and woof 
of human life. Wood is a miracle, robbed of its wonder 
because the gift is so lavish. Yet what sense would there 
be in creating wood in all its varieties, with no one to 
put it to any of its sacred uses? These same thoughts 
would equally apply to all the precious metals. 

Why should God create a chemical world unless He 
had chemists in mind? What would it amount to if 
there were not those who could take nature apart and 
recombine it to infinity for His glory and their happiness ? 
But there is no end to questions of this kind that might 
be asked concerning God and His works. In short, a 
depopulated universe is robbed of all its meaning and 
glory. Without a family, God would be reduced to a 
child god playing with a toy world. And being alone, 
He could not so much as complete His toy. At best the 
universe is but raw material until His children have 
turned it into a finished product. When God and His 
children begin turning nature into finished products the 
highest creation is just begun. By transforming nature 


into a social institution that reflects God s wisdom and 
love, common nature is glorified. Without a family 
there is no sense in anything, and God Himself would 
be without moral worth or meaning. To be sure, He 
could get along without a few of us if we should utterly 
refuse to cooperate with Him; but without a loving 
family, God would be completely defeated. He " So 
loved the world," and with equal propriety it might be 
said He so needed the world, " that He gave His only 
begotten Son." 

Before God s family arrived He was simply getting 
ready to do the supreme thing. But with His children 
about Him, loving and alert, the meaning of all things 
from the beginning commences to appear, and the glorious 
end is dimly discerned. No greater travesty on the na 
ture of God could be conceived than that which makes 
Him independent of His children. And to think that 
God s desire for mere adoration is His chief need of man 
is but slightly less a travesty. God yearns for the love 
and adoration of His children, and with no less desire, 
He calls upon them to help Him carry forward His work 
of creation. Love without work and achievement is first 
insipid, and then stale. God can no more fulfill Himself 
without children than men can fulfill themselves without 
Him. If God s highest works fail Him, then God Him 
self has failed. 

The permanent absence of children would stultify God s 
reason and character by rendering useless all that He is 
and all that He has made. 


4. What could an infinite God care for such a little 
speck ? 

It would be interesting to know who originated this 
question, for he should wear the badge of his own igno 
rance. In his mind, the little " speck " probably signified 
the human body. But as we have already seen, that is 
not man; it is only his instrument. And besides, man 
may progressively augment his little body, causing it to 
articulate with the whole body of nature. Moreover, the 
human body is primarily God s, the flower of all His 
works in the vast unfolding universe. Does God care 
for these myriad blossoms of his universe? One might 
as well ask, " What could a horticulturist care for the 
little blossoms on his apple trees? " Let the insects sting 
them, or the frosts bite them, he has big trees to absorb 
his attention! 

Unless God s world could blossom into myriad, deli 
cate forms, as homes for man souls, the universe would 
be as useless as a barren apple tree. The little flower 
is not something apart, its production taxes the entire 
strength and purpose of the tree. Neither is the human 
body something apart, its production taxes the entire 
strength and purpose of the universe. As the flower is 
the tree s glory and promise of fruit, so the human body 
is nature s glory and promise of souls. 

If, however, the " speck " refers to the real man, the 
spirit, then the question is equally foolish. An intelligent 
will is neither a " speck," nor something spread out like 


ether. Furthermore, that which can be so deeply im 
pressed by the vastness of the universe is not insignificant 
in itself. A mastodon would not be overwhelmed by the 
vastness of the universe. Neither is the great universe 
overwhelmed by a sense of its own magnitude. In his 
sense of awe, the foolish man who asked the question 
transcends the great universe itself. To be overwhelmed 
with our inability to know the universe is partly know 
ing it, or else we should not be so completely over 
whelmed. That is not insignificant which can measure 
the distance to the stars, and weigh the planets, and mark 
out the shape and size of their orbits. That is not in 
significant which can discover the very elements of which 
the sun is composed. Man s primary body may be rela 
tively small, but it is so highly organized that he can 
augment it until his instrument reaches the stars. 
Though the sun is approximately ninety-three million 
miles from our earth, yet the intelligent mind of man dis 
covered helium in the sun before he discovered it upon the 
earth. This feat of His child must have given the Father 
keen delight. 

Man s body is potentially as great as the universe be 
cause, being so delicately organized, it can articulate with 
the world elements to the farthest sun that twinkles in the 

The Luther Burbanks are revealing our supremacy 
over the vegetable kingdom. The animal kingdom is 
known to be equally plastic under our shaping hand ; for 
juggling with animal life is one of man s pastimes. By 


using pressure, he has taken a single cell life and divided 
it into twins. He has taken two separate cells and formed 
them into a giant. Taking off the head and tail of some 
lower forms of life, he has made the head grow where 
the tail was, and vice versa. 

No one mind can find time to learn of all the wonders 
achieved by the human family in the realms of nature 
and of social well-being. A simple statement of man s 
achievements in the twenty or thirty allied sciences is 
more thrilling than all the romances ever written. Man s 
power for good or evil is stupendous and overwhelm 
ing. It is in the realm of human life that God Himself 
will be victorious, or else defeated. All creation will fail 
if man fails. I here speak of man in the sense of God s 
children, wherever they may be in the universe. The 
people on this earth might fail without bringing universal 
disaster; but if God s children throughout the universe 
should fail Him, then all is lost. If God did not " care 
for " His children, it would be the same as not caring 
for Himself, since all His aims and purposes culminate 
in His family. God has crowned man with glory and 
honor, by putting all things under his feet. 

The world is as ignorant of man as it is of God; and 
the prevailing idea of either is a caricature. 

It is doubtful whether a self-conscious moral will could 
be awakened outside of a body, or inside of one if it were 
less highly organized than the human body. The higher 
animals share our sensations of pain and pleasure, but 
it is extremely doubtful whether any of them share in 


our self-conscious, moral purposes. Possibly a soul must 
appear in any such highly organized form of God s ener 
gies as a human body, and cannot appear where the or 
ganization of His energies falls short of this high stand 
ard. If we believe the body to be the integration of 
God s own energies it would not be strange if the body 
proved to be the incipient soul. We have not yet sounded 
the depths of God s creative wisdom either in the soul or 
the body; we only know that soul and body are bound 
together, and that God s highest achievement and deep 
est interest center in them. How infinitely precious in 
the sight of God are His children, the crown and glory 
of all His wisdom, love, and power ! 

5. Is not socialism the best religion there is? 

When socialism means the Kingdom of God, it is the 
best religion conceivable. And it is a pity that either 
religion or socialism should ever mean anything less than 
the Kingdom of God; for when they drop below that 
standard, the one is spurious religion while the other is 
counterfeit socialism ; the former discarding society, and 
the latter eliminating God, both alike become a menace. 

Last summer in Madison Square, New York, I listened 
to a socialist who was ridiculing the very idea of God. 
Exhorting his listeners to have a little sense, he advised 
them to get rid of God, priests, ministers, churches, and 
King Capital. He said : 


" You have but one life to live, and it is short; if ever 
you get anything, you must get it now." 

This type of socialism is a scourge, a pest, a bubonic 
plague. Nevertheless we would not minimize the crime 
of withholding from men their rights in this life. 

Another socialist speaking at a park in my own city 

" In the past, the capitalist has taken it all, leaving the 
working man only enough for the food necessary to do 
his work, and not always that. But we do not blame 
him, he had a right to take it because he could ; we 
should have done the same if we had been in his place. 
That is what life means; "the race is to the swift, and 
the battle to the strong/ Only the fittest have a right to 
live. But our turn is soon coming when we shall be able 
to take it all, and we will." 

Now, whoever teaches a theory like that, or acts upon 
it, is a cancer in the social body. It makes no difference 
whether or not he is a church member, whether business 
man, or laborer; such a man is a malignant growth in 
the body of humanity. 

It is just because socialism means anything from the 
religion of Jesus to this putrid stuff, that the average 
well-meaning person is cautious about identifying him 
self with any movement bearing the name of socialism. 
Yet any religion that stands aloof from social well-being 
is doomed, as it ought to be. No man can love God 
while hating his brother ; and whether he loves his brother 
is proved more by his actions than by his words. To 


love our brother, as we shall see, is enlightened selfish 
ness as well as altruism. 

" God in the soul " has been rather a popular definition 
of religion. To many minds this definition conveys a 
rich and ample meaning. To others it conveys gross 
error, for religious hysteria is often thought to be God in 
the soul. A mere psychic state, a religious opiate, a 
mental disease, may be so interpreted. It is a question 
whether any definition of religion is safe. A description 
of religion is far preferable to a definition, and has the 
advantage of being an easier task. When we identify 
religion with the Kingdom of God, we have a perfectly 
clear idea. The Kingdom of God is a loving, intelligent 
family organised around the Father s good-will, living 
in the universe as His home, using the forces of nature 
as the instruments of His will, and making all things vocal 
with His wisdom, love, and power. 

This is true religion ; this is a desirable socialism ; this 
is right life. For such an end God, man, and the en 
veloping powers of nature exist. Any loss of this vision, 
any lack of warmth or enthusiasm for its realization, 
spells degeneration. Such a state of mind means the 
perversion of nature, the engendering of rebellion in the 
Kingdom of God, and the making of prodigals. Reli 
gious experience does not mean just any kind of comfort 
able, private feeling, but a conscious love for the family 
of God, and conscious interest in the work that God and 
His children are trying to accomplish in the midst of na 
ture s forces. Religious experience means an active de- 


sire to brighten the great world home, and to gladden the 
great world family. The idea is so simple that a child 
can understand it; and a child s heart may glow with 
happiness while helping to brighten the world. To take 
one s place in the family of God as a member, loving, 
and beloved, is something infinitely better than cold ethics. 
Character that does not root itself in friendship is poor 
character; it bears not the fruit of righteousness, love, 
and joy. Our debt of friendship to all men is no less 
binding than our financial obligations. Friendship is the 
great power for good in the world. " I have called you 
friends, and such you are." And because they were 
friends, Jesus revealed to His disciples all the secrets of 
His soul, and threw over them the spell of His life. By 
interweaving their lives in some great purpose, or by 
promoting a common enterprise, friends lift each other 
into the finest vision. Simple, hearty, and unfeigned 
friendship for God and men, is religion pure and unde- 
filed. A wise man does not defer friendship until he is 
perfect, but seeks friendship first to learn what perfection 
is, that through friendship he may receive strength to be 

The new truths clearly manifest concerning God, man, 
and nature cause a new heaven to dawn, and a new hell 
to yawn. Heaven is brighter, and hell is hotter, than we 
had been thinking. The relation that exists between God, 
man, and the universe makes it perfectly plain that God 
does not go ahead of His children to make either heaven 
or hell. There is no heaven on either side the grave, ex- 


cept that which is made by the cooperation of God and 
His children. Though there are plenty of heavenly sites 
in the universe, yet the building of a Holy City is never 
begun until some of God s children have arrived on the 
scene. They who organize around the good will of God 
build a heaven in time and place; out of God s energies 
in which they live, they make a beautiful home. Heaven 
is doubtless a place as well as a state, for souls that are 
in a right state will make a right place in which to live. 
More than likely there are many heavens in the universe. 
In my city heaven may be on one floor and hell on an 
other, while the character of the third floor is uncertain. 
Souls cannot live outside of God s enfolding energies, 
and therefore they cannot avoid making either heaven 
or hell out of His infinite powers. Citizens of the King 
dom, under the guiding wisdom of God, make heaven. 
Those who refuse citizenship, preferring their own way, 
make hell ; but they make it out of the same mighty forces 
of which heaven is made. 

The idea that God, independent of His children, made a 
pretty place called heaven, and an ugly place called hell, 
in order that He might put good little people in the one, 
and push naughty little people off into the other, is the 
idea of a fool s heaven and a fool s hell; the facts are 
much more glorious and awful. There will be just as 
good a heaven as the Kingdom of God builds, and no 
better. Likewise there will be just as bad a hell as God s 
disloyal sons make, and no worse. No dream can pic- 


ture the paradise that God may make in this universe with 
the help of His good children. And the hell that His 
rebellious sons may create is something appalling. Since 
heaven or hell is simply the shape we give to God s en 
folding energies, all of us are unavoidably engaged in 
constructing the one or the other, and we have been so 
engaged every moment since our conscious life began. 
No one dare think that all his work is heaven-building. 
Altogether, through vice or greed, we have managed to 
produce of late the hottest Gehenna ever witnessed on 
earth. It has taken longer to make this sad condition than 
most of us realize; and many who little suspect their re 
sponsibility and guilt have been active agents in creating 
the fires of war and other fires in which there has been 
of late so much writhing and gnashing of teeth. And 
at the moment of the world s greatest anguish, there were 
those who were trying to get rich out of the state of 
sorrow into which they had helped to plunge humanity. 
I refer to all profiteers and crooked dealers, whether they 
were laborers or capitalists; to those who were willing 
that additional hundreds of thousands of our boys should 
go down into the lake of fire, if only they could fill their 
coffers. These were the devils who stood round the boil 
ing caldron with their flesh hooks, to tear the flesh of 
innocent boys if they rose to the surface of the boiling 
liquid. Some of these flesh-hook devils, having refined 
manners, posed as gentlemen. Others were lewd fellows 
of various sorts. But the flames which thev fed were not 


hot enough for them. They were getting ready for a fire 
that will burn much deeper, and they will be sure to 
find it. 

During the war, many found their faith in God stagger 
ing before a perdition created by human beings. But 
their faith should not have been unsettled, because this 
war was as sure to follow the way the world was living 
as the wheels of the cart are certain to follow the tread 
of the ox. Some had the blindness and audacity to blame 
God for what we have done. God gave us the raw mate 
rial with which to build a heaven, and we constructed a 
hell. Through His many prophets and seers God told 
us what we were doing, but we would not believe Him. 
Thinking ourselves wise we became fools, and turned 
His good gifts into instruments of torture. The majority 
of the people, believing that they could get along without 
giving much heed to God, took His limitless gifts and 
made a grand holiday instead of a Holy Day, and then 
rode in automobiles and yachts to their doom. When a 
world is bad enough to make war, it needs war. Though 
I had three sons between my heart and Germany s steel, 
yet I realized that America had to be hurt for her own 
salvation, for the salvation of Germany, for the safety of 
the world, and for the utter destruction of the German 
intriguers. If the people of the allied nations, however, 
had been shaping the instruments of their spirits into 
clean bodies, happy homes, honest business, and good 
governments, and all of these into the Kingdom of God 
on earth, Prussia could not have dreamed her dream of 


world dominance, nor would she have dared to throw 
down the gauntlet before the world. But seeing our 
weakness, she scorned our threats. Being under tutor 
ship to the god of power, in spite of her vices, which 
were equal to those of other nations, Prussia became 
shrewder and stronger than the nations that were too 
largely feasting under a bacchanalian god, or softly en 
joying themselves under a Santa Claus deity, or were pil 
ing up unrighteous gains under no god, or under one that 
was capable of wicked favoritism. It was clear to the 
prophets of the Most High that something was due, 
and it came. Bad as war is, that state of society which 
makes war possible is even worse. When society grows 
its body into a monster, the corrective influence of hell, 
in some form, is the last hope. This does not, however, 
exonerate Germany from the crime of launching a ruth 
less war to gratify her lust for world domination. God 
surely could not help it, since the human family shaped 
its body as it did against light and conscience; but if there 
were no retribution for sin and ignorance He would lose 
His family utterly. Hell inevitably came when the tools 
were forged and the devils were trained ; but God neither 
forged the tools nor trained the devils. 

I am advocating no moral prudery, nor religious big 
otry. Neither do I wish to imply that heaven has not 
been built up side by side with hell during the last fifty 
years, for it has. Those who have profited intellectu 
ally and spiritually by the revelations of modern learning, 
and by the new influx of power, and by the new social 


opportunities, have made the last fifty years the grandest 
in human history. Of these noble sons and daughters it 
should be said : their growth in the knowledge of God, 
their success in the discovery of man, their achievements 
in wresting from nature its deepest secrets, their grasp 
on the meaning of God s Kingdom, their accomplish 
ments in the practical launching of everything pertaining 
to a new era and a finer world order have made this the 
golden age for all who have seen the vision and shared 
in the work. Yet over against this kingdom of light and 
love, there has grown up a kingdom of darkness and hate. 
These two kingdoms have grown up side by side in every 
civilized country. And finally the kingdom of darkness 
embroiled all the nations in a deadly conflict. Seeing all, 
and feeling all, God was the greatest sufferer in the awful 
carnage of the contending armies. " In Him we live, and 
move, and have our being;" and therefore armies live, 
and fight their battles in God. They fight their battles 
with God s own powers, and make gaping wounds in 
His own body. And yet, some will ask, " Where was 
God? " Not only was He in the thick of the fight, but 
the thick of the fight was in His beautiful, enfolding en 
ergies. We shall make heaven out of the selfsame ener 
gies when we are done making hell out of them. And 
then, as now, God will be in our midst ; but He will be in 
our midst as a joyous, and not a suffering God. 

It would have been a pity if this war had ended before 
the nations opened their eyes to the higher purposes of 
God for future civilization, or before their consciences 


had been cleansed for the work of advancing the King 
dom. God will come to our help with mighty power 
when we come to His help with mighty obedience. Gen 
eral Sherman said, " War is hell." This has generally 
been taken to mean that war is as terrible as hell; but 
it is more than that, it is hell literally, because hell is never 
anything but war. If there were no war of any kind 
there would be no hell. This is equally true either side 
the grave. If there were no individuals in the universe 
to oppose God s will and so misuse His enfolding energies 
as to harm one another, hell would cease to be. The 
beginning of hell is very pleasurable, and that is why men 
begin it. But it always grows more and more terrible 
until it becomes a lake of fire. It is worse than brim 
stone, because men have found hotter materials to use. 
It is curtains of fire, poisonous gases, shrapnel, bombs, 
machine guns, and mud mixed with blood. 

War begins in selfish desire, and continues in the mis 
use of God s good gifts. Intensified desire diverts to 
its own use that which does not belong to it; and be 
coming powerful, arrogant, and oppressive, it brews hell 
without knowing it. Thinking that it knows all, it re 
fuses instruction. To the perverted mind, imprisoned 
in a distorted body, Jesus looks weak, while God seems 
a myth, or mere brute force. Finally hell breaks loose 
in all its fury. 

The most pathetic thing in this whole affair is that the 
good have to go to hell with the bad, at least in this 
life. But it was ever so. Jesus truly " descended into 


hell," only it was before He died. The same is true of 
God and all His good sons. There is no other way to 
save the situation. Gehenna, as well as heaven, begins 
here and now. It may be that the rebellious sons of God 
have created a worse hell on the other side of the grave, 
but if they have, it is exactly the same in kind as that 
which they have made here. Every immoral and pain 
ful condition in the universe is wrought in God. God 
was as closely related to the recent war as a man is re 
lated to the abscess on his finger; and He is so related 
to all hells, in all worlds. For hell is never anything 
but a painful disturbance wrought in God s body by the 
sons whom He has enfolded in His bosom. And since 
there are so many discordant and vicious elements 
throughout all the world, it is to be hoped that the nations 
are being purged by the awful fires through which they 
are passing. 

Has the earth had its last war? That is not at all 
likely. There is plenty of discord in society even now 
that the main war is over. Many wrongs must be righted 
and many problems solved or terror will break out some 
where. Human society and human institutions have 
grown about as large and complex as is possible, unless 
they can be dominated by a larger ideal and a more 
Christlike spirit. While I sympathize with all the hopes 
and aspirations of the noble men and women of our day 
for a more peaceful earth, yet I do so only on the con 
dition that men will learn to know and obey the truth. 


Nothing should be left undone that will hasten the day 
of righteousness and peace. 

God has two hands with which He is trying to save 
the world. The one is a crucified hand, and the other 
is a great steel hand. The crucified hand, which is the 
pledge of forgiveness and good will, is both logically 
and chronologically first. For nearly two thousand years 
God has been extending this hand. Millions have ac 
cepted it and lived ; but many more have refused it, pre 
ferring the strife of the world. It is perfectly plain that 
society will not be saved by this means alone. Without 
minimizing the worth of the crucified hand, or withdraw 
ing it, God is at last employing a hand of steel, as vast 
as the machinery of the world, and identical with it. 
God is placing His great steel fingers around men and 
drawing them together. No longer may men live apart, 
for under this new pressure nothing has value in isolation. 
Capital has no value without labor, neither has labor any 
value without capital; and these may no longer work 
successfully together without uplifting the weak nations 
of the earth. The masses and classes can no longer es 
cape each other. Bound together by bands of steel, they 
may do one of two things kill each other or love one 
another. There is no third alternative. I have faith that 
when men see themselves in the grip of the steel hand, 
they will choose the better alternative and, by clasping 
God s crucified hand, become brothers. As things have 
been going, scores of peoples on our little earth have 


lived in darkness and under the hand of awful oppres 
sion ; they could have suffered and rotted for millenniums 
without the prosperous nations knowing or caring. At 
last, however, we know, and our own salvation now 
clearly rests on our caring. The articulate body of hu 
manity has become as great as the nations of the earth, 
and that body is made up of the infinite energies of God. 
We now have the privilege of making this mighty body 
express more fully than ever before the thought and love 
of God, or else we shall be compelled to shape it into 
the most gigantic monster that ever stalked forth to do 
the foul deeds of hell. Were there a legion of leering 
and jeering devils, plotting evil against our earth, the 
comprehending mind could hear them say, " We wish for 
no more awful instruments of torture than these energies 
of the Infinite with which His children clothe themselves. 
Only let us lead them to fall out by the way, and they 
will damn each other by smiting with the infinite powers 
of their God." Men, individuals and nations ! do 
we see it, do we know the simple rudiments of life, is it 
not clearly manifest that we must strive for the Christ 
life or socially commit suicide and murder? 

Men have made such great mental and material growth 
that unlimited power is placed at their disposal. That 
fact makes this the greatest day in human history. I 
have already said that the man soul is in quest of omni 
presence -by progressively making the universe the instru 
ment of his will. The hour has struck for his supreme 
effort in that direction; though simply creeping in the 


past, he may now run if only he will obey the divine law. 
However, if he will not obey, the hour for disintegration 
has arrived; and once more nations and empires must 
burn to the ground, and upon the ashes of the conflagra 
tion, the noble " remnant " must again begin to rebuild 
slowly and painfully the temple of God on earth. 

If our old men are dreaming dreams, and our young 
men are seeing visions, let them come forth in this crisis. 
But thank God, they are coming! Millions are coming! 
We believe there will be enough to save the day. And 
what a day it will be if, after all this dreadful upheaval, 
we can reconstruct the world on such broad principles of 
righteousness and love that the race shall start upon a 
new era of peace and good will! We must not on ac 
count of ignorance or selfishness throw away this golden 

Get ye up upon the mountains, O Israel, O Church 
of God, and look for the day ! 




Was Jesus God or a good man only? 

Can modern psychology any longer believe in the Deity of 

Where does Jesus belong in the religious, social, and thought 


i. Introductory statement 

Thus far our discussion of God has been largely in re 
lation to physics. At last, however, we are ready to 
consider Him on a higher plane. 

Our knowledge of both God and man is incomplete 
until we see their oneness in Jesus and in the kingdom 
which Jesus proclaimed. In the life of Jesus, God and 
man are viewed from a higher spiritual level. The world 
lies broken into fragments until these fragments become 
united in the Christ type of life. Then the body, the 
human mind, God, and the whole material universe co 
ordinate to make one beautiful whole. 

Starting with the Scriptural idea that all things pro 
ceed from Wisdom, or God, then strictly speaking, God 
is the only person in the universe who has a body of His 



own. All other spirits live in His bodies. This is neces 
sarily so if all the way from its simplest elements to its most 
highly organized forms, nature is but the expression of the 
divine Will. As we have already shown, the human body 
is but a part of universal nature, the finest part, the 
blossom. Therefore, what we call the human organism 
is primarily God s. Not only is it the very finest bit 
of His workmanship, but it is His to use, unless His child, 
the man soul, robs Him of His own. In these highly 
specialized parts of nature God has not merely one, but 
billions of bodies, all the bodies there are. The In 
finite Mind would find one such body utterly inadequate. 
With but one bodily form He would be incomparably 
worse off than an organist with but one finger. If God 
could come to articulate speech and deed through but one 
physical instrument, He and all His family might well 
despair. If as the Scriptures teach, however, each and 
every physical body is His very own, in which and 
through which He may live, then every condition is pro 
vided for a God humanly personal and infinitely satisfy 
ing. He may be as local and personal as our parents or 
neighbors. Though greater than all, He is yet in all and 
through all, 

" Center and soul of every sphere, 
Yet to each loving heart how near ! " 

Not only is God lovingly present to every Christian 
heart, but at the same time He is personally revealed by 
every human form through which He is permitted to live 


and love and serve. The pity of it all is that we so often 
prevent God from using His own body, in which we too 
live, by causing it to express in word and deed that which 
is contrary to His thought and love. 

Before we take up the subject of the Incarnation, it 
may be well to consider what is meant by the trinity. 

2. The idea of the trinity and how it came about 

When we say that God is a trinity we do not mean that 
there are three Gods. There is just one God who, as we 
have repeatedly said, is a Loving Intelligent Will. 
The idea of the trinity came about in this way : 
The early Christians were so deeply impressed by Jesus, 
and so warmly attached to their Master, that they in 
stinctively adored and worshiped Him; for, somehow, 
He brought God to them even as He brought them to God. 
Yet the Christians, like the Jews, strenuously opposed the 
worship of more than one Divinity. Their stout opposi 
tion to Polytheism provoked the retort from their heathen 
neighbors that Christians should not be so particular about 
the number of Gods, because they worshiped at least two, 
a Father God and a Son God, and three, if they added a 
Holy Spirit God. So it is not strange that the Christians, 
to justify their own conduct, were driven to a profound 
study of Deity. And though they made some grave mis 
takes, nevertheless they discovered some vital truths con 
cerning the nature of personality which greatly enlarged 
and enriched their conception of God. It must be re- 


membered that in the early Christian centuries many 
thought of God as something very remote and placid, like 
a sea of bliss; being infinitely happy and self-contained, 
He was at perfect rest. Such a One would not contam 
inate Himself by being identified with nature or man. 
To the Christian Gnostics and Jews, the idea that God 
became incarnate and suffered death on the cross was 
repugnant. Some believed that it was beneath God even 
to create a world like ours. They, therefore, attributed 
creation to lesser divinities. However, in the third cen 
tury Origen stoutly maintained that God must have cre 
ated the world. Yet so eminent a man as Origen believed 
that He created it for " tainted souls." 

After much study, the Church Fathers arrived at the 
conclusion that God was somehow Three in One, a sort 
of society within Himself, and they were right. For 
without something like a social experience in one s self, 
it is impossible to be a person at all. This is equally true 
of God or man. To be a person one must know himself, 
and this he could not do if he were not able to keep 
company with himself. The pen with which I am writ 
ing is not a person because it has no capacity for self- 
communion. But because I hold fellowship with myself 
I am a person. Since every human being keeps company 
with himself more than he does with all other persons 
put together, may God have mercy on him if he is bad 
company, if he is not safe to be left alone with himself. 
A tree may stand alone in infinite solitude, companionless ; 
but for better, for worse, a man must forever remain in 


his own company, hearing praise or condemnation from 
his own heart. How is this possible, unless there is some 
thing in a man s individual experience that resembles so 
ciety? In self-knowledge, as in all knowledge, there are 
the knower and the known. When we commune with 
ourselves we are, at the same moment, the subject and the 
object of our own experience. The self that sees may 
fittingly be called the father of our personality, and with 
equal propriety the self that we see may be called the be 
gotten of our personality. Thus something resembling 
father and son is experienced in our first step toward 
self-knowledge. Whether the capacity to be our own 
subject and object amounts to much or little, it was 
this that the Fathers saw and rightly attributed to God. 

Furthermore, there is yet another step to be taken in 
the act of coming to true self-knowledge. By what 
power does one determine that the person with whom he 
communes is himself? There is something in our ex 
perience resembling a third person, one who recognizes 
both subject and object and bears witness that they are 
one. The reader may say, " I can see the first and the 
second, but I cannot see the third." The self that sees 
the first and the second is the third. This power by 
which we complete the unity of our being is by no means 
trivial, as some may think. There are abnormal person 
alities who successfully achieve the subjective and objec 
tive in their experience and keep up an abnormal com 
munion with themselves from morning till night, who 
cannot witness true. So they insist that they are 


" General Jacksons " or " Jesus Christs " or great " rail 
road magnates." Their personalities have broken down, 
not because they lack self -consciousness, but because they 
lack the power of coming to unity. A perfectly sane per 
son, therefore, is subject, object, and witnesser all in one. 
If God were not this kind of trinity He would not be a 
person at all. 

To grasp so clearly the significance of personality was 
a great spiritual achievement. The Church Fathers did 
more than they realized ; they described the elements in 
herent in all personalities. They saved God to the in 
tellect and to the affections by bringing Him out of re 
mote obscurity into the blazing light of moral and spirit 
ual personality. God is personal because He is triune; 
that is, because He is complex enough to keep company 
with Himself and to know Himself. If the reader asks 
" What does all this amount to for us? " my answer is, 
" It amounts to the difference between a personal God 
and the deity who is an immobile placid sea of bliss. 
In the second place it shows the difference between the 
God who is a Loving Intelligent Will and the material 
ist s god who is no more than a blind Samson. It also 
discloses the essential likeness between all personalities, 
however much they may differ in development." 

If I were asked to put my finger on the greatest weak 
ness in present-day thought I should unhesitatingly point 
out the subject of personality. Men are falling down like 
ten-pins before the intellectual difficulties of believing in 
a personal God; and many of them are even doubting the 


spiritual personality of man. And this is largely due 
to the fact that they are unable to form any mental pic 
ture of personality. One of the beautiful surprises for 
this generation is that the Fathers in working out the 
personality of God found the only conception of person 
ality that is true to universal experience. They did not 
realize that they were analyzing the human spirit as well 
as God, because their thought was wholly on Him. But 
they saw God through their own personalities, and if they 
had not borne God s image they never could have 
analyzed the personality of God. In this generation we 
turn their analysis of God upon ourselves and find that it 
tallies perfectly with our experience. We at last see that 
the triune, or personal, man soul is the child of the triune, 
or personal, God Soul; and thus a deeper bond is estab 
lished between the Father and His child. 

The use to which the Church Fathers put this analysis 
of God s personality was both fortunate and unfortunate. 
It was fortunate because it enabled them to continue their 
belief in the deity of Jesus and, at the same time, their 
belief in the oneness of God. They were still able to 
oppose polytheism, and yet come to Jesus as the fountain 
of divine blessing. They worshiped God in the face of 
Jesus. In other words, they believed in a genuine In 
carnation. This was fortunate beyond all calculation. 
Just how fortunate it was we shall have to illustrate to 
the best of our ability when we come to the subject of 
Incarnation. Thus far I have not discussed the Incar 
nation, neither have I had Jesus in mind while consider- 


ing the trinity. For in whatever sense God is a trinity, 
He was such before Jesus was born. 

Before discussing the divinity of Jesus we must 
briefly call attention to the unfortunate use which the 
Fathers made of their analysis of the personality of 
God. They thought they had solved the question of 
Christ s divinity when they took this objective element in 
the experience of God and clothed it with flesh. Though 
they denied that these distinctions in God were properly 
named by the word person, yet they admitted their in 
ability to think of a better term. Then they so 
wrenched God s personality apart as to send His ob 
jective self, which was simply an element in His experi 
ence of self-consciousness, into the world to be the Mes 
siah. And though they stoutly maintained that these 
three elements in God were indivisible, yet God s subjec 
tive self could stay far away in heaven while His ob 
jective self could go to earth as a man. At the same 
time each of the three elements in God s experience of self 
hood could perform all the functions of a full personal 
ity. This was doing the worst possible violence to the 
personality of God; and it has wrought confusion from 
that day to this. As we have already seen, it takes these 
three elements in God s experience to make Him any per 
son at all. The common use made of the subjective, ob 
jective, and witnessing elements in the personality of God 
is pure Tri-Theism, regardless of how they are united. 
God does not have three personalities that can be scattered 
about in the universe. 


The idea that God s objective experience can go off on 
a journey, or that it can return to heaven while His wit 
nessing experience in turn goes to earth, leaving the sub 
jective and objective in heaven, is religious illiteracy. 
Neither God nor any part of God ever goes or comes. 
The triune, or personal God, is never far enough off to 
come anywhere. There is no place in the universe where 
for a moment He is not. He is always the Father, and 
Creator, and Intelligent Will in whom all creation lives, 
and moves, and has its being. The second element in 
God s own act of consciousness did not become incarnate 
in Jesus; the conscious God Himself entered the life of 

The baptismal formula, " In the name of God the 
Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," has no reference to 
the triple element in God s self-consciousness. It beauti 
fully represents the three ways that we are to look at God, 
if we are to see Him in the fulness of His glory. First, 
we think of God as He is in Himself, and as He must 
be to His own infinite thought. Second, we think of 
Him as He has expressed Himself in nature, in humanity 
and, best of all, as He has revealed Himself in His 
obedient Son Jesus. Third, we think of God as the still 
small voice within, the Soul of our souls, the One to 
whom we speak when we have shut the door; the one 
to whom we whisper our deepest secrets, and ask Him 
if He loves and forgives us. Beyond the fact that the 
trinity constitutes God a person, it has nothing to do 
with the deity of Jesus. How God became incarnate 


is another question; a question to which we now gladly 
address ourselves. 

3. Was Jesus God or a good man only? 

At a meeting of city ministers, addressed by one of 
their own number, the speaker took from Jesus the last 
shred of divinity. According to this minister, Jesus 
was a prophet sent from God, and the best of men, but 
nothing more. A progressive Jewish rabbi asked if this 
were not the present attitude of all intelligent ministers, 
and whether they did not, for the sake of expediency, 
leave the pew in ignorance of their real belief. In the 
opinion of the rabbi, Jesus was one of the greatest of 
Jewish reformers, but not the founder of Christian reli 
gion. His contention was that Paul founded the Chris 
tian Church on a peculiar, psychic experience which came 
to him on his way to Damascus. 

" The Divinity of Jesus " was then assigned to me as 
a topic for the next meeting. Naturally, I turned to the 
Scriptures to see what they had to say concerning the re 
lation of God to man. Though expecting to find on this 
subject a marked degree of difference between the Old 
and New Testaments, yet I was wholly unprepared for 
the facts as they appeared. Before presenting my find 
ings, I asked the rabbi to consider whether Jesus was a 
" Jewish reformer," or a Jewish fulfiller, it being my 
conviction that He was the latter. I then stated that, 
having examined the Old Testament on the relation exist- 


ing between God and man, I failed to find a single pas 
sage recognizing God within the human life; and that no 
greater surprise than this had come to me in my recent 
study of the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, the 
nearest approach to the immanence of God in the soul was 
the following: 

" I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh," and " Is not 
my dwelling with the humble in heart? " But even here 
the divine Spirit was only upon them or with them. 
Never, so far as I could discover, did He dwell in them. 
In some twenty-four hundred verses, God was rep 
resented as sustaining many beautiful and terrible rela 
tions to men. This relationship was symbolized by birds, 
beasts, and natural elements, to the very limit of the 
imagination. After the most solemn warnings and at 
tractive promises, God would depart from His people 
for a season and then return with rewards and punish 
ments according to their faithfulness. He scrutinized 
their inmost thoughts; in fact, He did everything except 
enter their lives. 

On turning to the New Testament, however, I found 
a startling contrast. God dwelt not only in the hearts 
but in the bodies of men. " For know ye not that ye 
are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth 
in you? Yea, ye are the temple of the living God." 
" Know ye not that your bodies are temples of the Holy 
Spirit?" "Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill 
the lusts of the flesh." Jesus said, " He that hath seen 
me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou, show us the 


Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, 
and the Father in me?" "The Father abiding in me 
doeth His works." " In that day ye shall know that I 
am in the Father and ye in me, and I in you." " If a 
man love me he will keep my word : and my Father will 
love him, and we will come unto him, and make our 
abode with him." 

As a prospector seeks for gold, I sought in the Old 
Testament for God in the life of man and did not find 
Him; but no sooner had I reached the New Testament 
than all was changed. Here was a new country. The 
prospector was in the midst of that for which he sought. 
No mountain was ever as rich in gold as the human 
heart, according to the New Testament, was rich with 
the indwelling God. 

The religion of Jesus in contrast with that of the 
prophets is like a tree, which Luther Burbank has trans 
formed into a new variety bearing strange and luscious 
fruit. I wondered that I had overlooked for so long a 
time the complete cleavage between the two parts of our 
Bible on this subject. Jesus was truly a Jewish re 
former, but to a much greater degree He was a Jewish 
fulfiller. In revealing God s true oneness with man He 
completed the prophet s imperfect religious vision, and 
best of all, made the vision a fact in His own experience. 
At the same time He began making it a reality in the 
experience of His disciples. 

I told the friend who in a previous meeting had 
stripped Jesus of all His divinity, that he had very sue- 


cess fully demolished some antiquated psychology, but 
strange to say had completely overlooked the new psy 
chology which, in my opinion, fully restored Christ s 
divinity. As to his statement that " Jesus was a good 
man only," I reminded him that there is no such being. 
For, each one of us, in so far as he is " only," is a bad 
man. It requires the oneness of God and man to make a 
good man. When a human soul is separated from God, 
he ceases to be a complete person. God and the true 
self always come or go together; in order to be a human 
soul, in any worthy sense, one must be bath God and 
man in one. A man severed from God is but the frag 
ment of a man, a limb broken from the tree, a lifeless 
branch. To touch the living branch of a tree is to touch 
the tree. The fruit of the branch is likewise the fruit 
of the tree. That any person can be a " good man only," 
is an idea contrary to the New Testament and modern 

4. Can modern psychology any longer believe in the 
Deity of Jesus? 

The Scriptures certainly do not teach that Jesus was 
God only ; neither do they teach that He was man only. 
It is my own deepest conviction that Jesus was very 
God and very man. Furthermore, I believe this to be the 
teaching of the Scriptures, and the idea that best con 
forms to modern psychology. To come to Jesus is to 
come to God; likewise to come to God is to come to 


Jesus. He is at once God in man, and man in God. I 
believe in the God of Jesus, and I believe in the Jesus 
of God. How modern psychology can avoid believing 
in both the deity and humanity of Jesus, I do not see. 
Some who believe in Christ s divinity do not believe in 
His deity. They say, "Yes, He is divine, He is in 
comparable, He is altogether lovely ; but He is not Deity, 
because Deity is God Himself." But my thesis is that 
Jesus was " very God and very man." 

To picture this truth to our minds will be our next 
task. An old-time friend, while reporting to me the 
installation of a minister whom I knew, said : 

" Would you believe it ! Mr. G. told the council that 
he not only believed in the divinity, but that he believed 
in the Deity of Jesus." Here my friend threw his head 
back and laughed heartily, expecting me to laugh with 
him. When he had finished laughing, I told him that I 
also believed in the deity as well as in the humanity of 
Jesus; and that if I did not believe in His deity I did not 
think I should believe in any religion at all. This proved 
to be quite a surprise to my friend. So to his puzzled 
look of inquiry I replied : 

" And I could make you believe it." As his curiosity 
deepened at this remark, I asked him, 

" Do you know where I first met God not an ema 
nation from Him, but God; the Will that formed the 
worlds, all the God there is? " " No," was his reply. 
" Fortunately," I answered, " I do. It was in my 
mother. When I was a little boy the great God at times 


enfolded me in human arms, and looked into my face 
through benignant, human eyes, and spoke tender words 
with a sweet accent. My silent and invisible mother was 
often so closely identified with God that they would be 
thinking and feeling the same thing concerning me. At 
such times the human form expressed their common 
thought and love; my heavenly Father, no less than my 
invisible mother, enfolded me with His arms. If in 
these supreme moments God was not in my mother, then 
it is useless to look for Him anywhere in the Universe. 
My mother was different from the non-Christian mothers 
in our rough frontier. Many times she so loved me in 
God, and with God, that she became a channel through 
which God Himself had personal access to me through 
all the human modes of approach." 

I then told my friend of an experience with my mother 
at church in the little frontier schoolhouse. I was 
lying on the seat with my head in her lap, tickling my 
nose with her boa. When the time came for prayers, 
my mother bowed her head to the desk in front of her. 
While her lips moved in prayer, I observed that her dear 
face was troubled. As she was unconscious of my gaze, 
I continued to look into her sorrowful face. Though 
but a little child, I fully understood what she was doing, 
and was able to mark the stages of her progress. My 
invisible mother was talking with our invisible Father, 
and the face gradually changed until finally I could tell 
that her will had merged completely with His will ; and 
then her face, which was primarily His face, became 


radiant with spiritual beauty. I had seen the dear human 
face of God, and at the same time it was the face of my 

I called my friend s attention to the fact that once 
upon a time the invisible God said to the invisible Clara 
Barton : 

" Clara, let us go out onto the battle-field where the 
poor soldier boys languish and die;" and Clara re 
sponded to His thought and love. Then the invisible 
God and the invisible Clara Barton went to the battle 
field in God s body, because Clara had no body exclusively 
her own. So, when that form bending over the soldier 
boy wiped away the dust and blood and pain, while 
whispering of home, of mother, and of God, it was the 
Father, as much as it was Clara Barton, who was per 
forming the deed ; and He, not less than she, was visibly 
and humanly present. The ministering hand was as 
truly His instrument as it was hers; while the stronger 
will and deeper love were the Father s. Before Clara 
Barton thought of it, the Father, knowing all and- feel 
ing all, suggested to her the kindly deed ; nor did He stop 
loving the soldier boy when she began. 

Again addressing my friend, I said : 

" It is impossible for me to understand you. You have 
always believed God to be immanent in all nature; you 
have seen Him in sticks and stones and stars; but you 
now fail to recognize Him in His highest, His only in 
strument through which He is capable of coming to 
articulate speech and deed. How I pity your poor help- 


less God who is buried fathoms and fathoms out of sight. 
He can neither see, nor hear, nor breathe; nor can He 
walk or talk. But you see, my God can get clear to the 
surface in audible word, and visible deed. When my 
God finds a good, clean Frenchman, He begins talking 
and writing French. If you doubt this, either you are 
not familiar with French literature, or else you do not 
know God. Under similar conditions God speaks all 
the languages. How beautifully and abundantly He has 
spoken through the German and English tongues! 
While in Greek and Hebrew, God has uttered mighty 
words of wisdom, and has filled the earth with His 
glorious pseans. Human wisdom alone could never have 
spoken thus. If we but have eyes to see and hearts to 
feel we shall realize that all about us God is getting to the 
surface through devoted Christians. When the true 
preacher lifts the souls before him into the will of God, 
he sees a divine expression upon their faces; and if he 
is spiritually wise, he will realize that for the time being 
these are the dear human instruments of God, as truly 
as they are the faces of human spirits; and when he has 
poured out his soul in behalf of some great cause of God 
for which he would be willing to die, he will find some 
one with outstretched hand ready to meet him and will 
ing to cooperate, if need be, even unto death, and then it 
is his privilege to know that, while shaking hands with 
a brother spirit, he was at the same time shaking hands 
with the infinite God. In these rare experiences of ours, 
the invisible God no less than the invisible man has 


come to outward expression, and this He would always 
do, if our wills were not contrary to His will. Our 
feeble and infrequent inspiration is but intermittent in 
carnation, while full incarnation is permanent inspira 

"Why/ I asked, "should you hesitate to think of 
Jesus as God and man? If the Father-Spirit and the 
child-spirit were thinking and willing the same thing, 
which one came to expression through the words and acts 
of the body? If A and B were lifting an object, would it 
be truthful to say that A was lifting it? The visible 
form that lived and taught by the shores of Galilee was 
as truly God as it was man, unless the child-spirit did 
not know and do the Father-Spirit s will. Sometimes a 
whole congregation of wills express themselves joyfully 
and forcefully through one written resolution. God 
never speaks an audible word, except through one of 
His bodies in which He has enfolded a child-spirit. 
When, however, the child-spirit rebels against the Father, 
and causes the instrument to speak or act vile things, the 
Father is dumb. His child has robbed Him of His body. 
We have grown so accustomed to this form of robbery 
that we naturally think of human spirits as having bodies 
all their own, while we conceive of God as a vague, dis 
embodied influence. We speak of God as sending men, 
forgetting that He never sends a man anywhere with 
out sending him in His own body and accompanying him 
with His own spiritual Presence. And that which the 
messenger says is not worth hearing if it fails to express 


the Father s thought and will. The God who, through 
beautiful chemical energies, makes the ear, hears; and the 
God who makes the eye, sees ; and He who makes the 
lips, speaks. Either God knows the thrill of nerves, or 
else He has an infinite amount to learn. Why then should 
we say that Jesus was only a good man, when the body 
was God s very own, and the guiding will was that of 
the Father? A man is all God except the invisible hu 
man spirit; and in the case of Jesus, even the human spirit 
rendered such filial obedience that the Father, for once 
in human history, got to the surface through His own 
instrument in a steady flow of luminous words and loving 
deeds. If the composite life of Jesus were named after 
its major elements, then Jesus should be called God. 
However, as that would be both confusing and false, we 
state the truth as it is, and say that Jesus was both God 
and man, that is, a God-filled man, or a God-man." 

" Oh well," said my friend, " if you mean it that 

" Did I not tell you," I replied, " that you would be 
lieve it? The trouble with you is that you forget it. 
You should be proclaiming it from the housetop that God 
has got clear to the surface in human form, and that 
men have clasped His hand, and heard His voice, and seen 
His face." 

In the life of Jesus, religion reached a new and distinct 
stage of development. It was in Him that the essential 
oneness of Deity and humanity first became clearly mani 
fest. To the friends of Jesus, God was no longer a 


disembodied spirit. The Christian s God is clearly the 
God of Israel, but He is the God of Israel become human 
and visible. The world has been slow to grasp the mean 
ing of Christ s life and teachings. To maintain the 
uniqueness of Jesus, it has denied the universality of the 
truth which He proclaimed : namely, the organic and moral 
oneness of God and man. If the union of God and man 
as realized in Jesus was so beautiful, a similar union be 
tween God and all men would be equally beautiful. 
That God desires such a union with all His children there 
can be no doubt; and that He is inspiring His disciples 
with the glorious hope of its accomplishment is equally 
certain. Yet for the present, even the most devoted fol 
lowers have not nearly attained unto the fulness of the 
stature of Jesus ; but some glad day they shall be wholly 
like Him whose image they already unmistakably bear. 
This is the Christian s noblest hope. 

If God has ever united His personality with that of 
even one man, then there is a way of doing it. And if 
there is a way, what finer goal is possible, than that such 
a union between God and every man be consummated? 
Really, that is what the Christian Religion is about. Not 
only may God and every man be similarly united, but 
the sin of man alone can prevent such a union from 
taking place. If there were no sin or rebellion in a man s 
heart, he would instantly become a God-man on the plane 
of his present human development; and as he " Advanced 
in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men," 
he would be a God-man on a higher level. If the human 


side of the Christ has continued thus to grow for more 
than nineteen hundred years, on what altitudes of knowl 
edge He is a God-man by this time, we can but faintly 
surmise. And with the possibility of a complete purging 
from sin, and the possibility of an infinite growth in wis 
dom, we, too, may yet be God-men on what would now 
seem to us dizzying heights; we shall ever be attaining 
" Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of 
Christ." No matter what one s conception of the trinity 
in God s personality may be, God is capable of uniting 
with every man in the same way that He united with 
the man Jesus. If we prefer to believe that God had an 
Eternal Son who came to clothe himself in a man, the 
problem of union would in nowise be changed. A Son- 
God, if He existed either in the Father or out of the 
Father, could not be less than a person, and the manner 
of uniting Himself with a man would be the same. My 
interest in the metaphysics of the trinity is that it gives 
us a firm grasp on the personality of God and the person 
ality of man. I rest on the fact that the P ersonal God 
became incarnate and still seeks the souls of men for his 
dwelling-place. I further believe that when we do not 
read a later metaphysics into the Bible, the Scriptures 
wholly support the more modern conception. In the be 
ginning was the Logos, Word, or Wisdom. Wisdom 
was with God from the beginning; that is, God was al 
ways Wisdom, and not a material thing. All things 
were made by Wisdom, or God. Life was in God, and 
God s life was the light of men; and though it was shin- 


ing into the darkness the darkness apprehended it not. 
The God who is wisdom, and not matter, was in the 
world, and the world was made by Him, but it knew Him 
not. Finally Wisdom, or God, became flesh, and taber 
nacled among us, and we discerned His glory, a glory as 
of an only-begotten with a father, full of grace and truth. 
The author seems to me to believe that the Personal God 
became incarnate, and that the one in whom He dwelt, 
in contrast with other men, looked like an only son 
of a father. 

Notwithstanding this glorious possibility, there is al 
ways a tendency for religion to revert to a lower type; 
and this tendency is particularly noticeable just now. 
Not being able to believe in the divinity of Jesus accord 
ing to the old metaphysics, multitudes are ceasing to be 
lieve in Him as Emmanuel, or " God with us." At 
a time like this, when a forward movement is the only 
hope of saving our great material structure from be 
coming another Tower of Babel, a retrograde move 
ment is lamentable. What we especially need is a new 
interpretation of Jesus, followed by a finer devotion to 
Him, and a whole-hearted commitment of ourselves to 
His ever-widening program. God is becoming alto 
gether too hazy and inarticulate, at a time when the 
consciousness of His holy Presence is especially needed, 
if we are to shape and sustain a civilization that is quad 
rupling itself in weight and extent by reason of the 
growth and application of material knowledge. Any 
quickening of God that is to be highly beneficial must 


result in His further advent into human lives and hu 
man institutions after the pattern of Jesus. 

That a mere God of nature is insufficient was forcibly 
brought home to me while I was watching a circus per 
former throw daggers and toss balls. The performer, 
placing a man against a wide board, some ten feet dis 
tant, hurled a bunch of daggers into the board on either 
side of the man, each time missing him by only one or 
two inches. Then he began tossing balls until the air 
seemed full of them, and not one ball fell to the ground. 
Having witnessed with amazement his great dexterity, 
these thoughts occurred to me : 

"I wonder what he is like when he talks? If he is 
married what does his wife think of him? If he has 
children how do they feel toward him? Or if he is a 
single man, what would I think if he should wish to 
marry my daughter?" I then realized that I knew ab 
solutely nothing about him except that he was a dex 
terous machine. Then falling into a homiletical mood 
I thought of the great skill of God. " How wonderfully 
He can toss balls, and strew the milky way, and hurl 
Pleiades and Orion! Before such infinite skill the per 
formance which I have just witnessed is ridiculous." 
Then the thought forced itself upon me, " What would 
God be like if He were to talk? What kind of a per 
son should we find Him to be if He walked our streets, 
and engaged in business, and sat at the table as one of 
the family circle?" I then realized that if God could 
only toss balls and direct atoms we should really know 


nothing whatever of His character. If He were no 
more than the uniform power of nature s laws He would 
too closely resemble gravity, or electricity, to be satisfy 
ing to His children. The human heart demands that, 
in addition to all this, God be individual, and spontaneous, 
like other persons whom we know, and with whom we 
hold fellowship. We enjoy seeing our friends run ma 
chines, but what an awful life it would be if every person 
in the world gave no heed to anyone or anything except 
the machine which he uniformly and incessantly operated! 
What a monstrous and oppressive idea it is to think of 
God, silent as a sphinx, spending an eternity with His 
mind so riveted upon the operation of His machine- 
world that He has neither time nor capacity for anything 
else. If such a God had time to think of it, He surely 
would envy the little child who can prattle, and laugh, 
and sing. 

Fortunately this higher demand upon God is fully met 
in the religion of Jesus. For while our Father is a 
wonder-worker and a world builder, at the same time He 
has myriads of human bodies through which He can live 
a thoroughly social life. He is the most social Being in 
the universe; His desire and capacity for social rela 
tions are unlimited. He does not willingly leave one 
individual outside the circle of His friends. All His 
work in nature is for the purpose of providing instru 
ments and conditions for a family of free children, 
among whom He may live as the free and adorable 
Father. It is no wonder that men cease to pray, when 


in their thought God is divorced from everything in 
dividual and social. When men conceive of God as 
the mere operator of the cosmos, their highest concern 
is to keep out of the way of the machine. It never oc 
curs to such men that God is able to treat them as sons, 
after the most personal and human manner. It is only 
in the laws of nature that His actions are mechanically 
uniform. In social relations His moods and actions 
change to suit the feelings and conduct of His sons and 
daughters. In nature God sends the rain and sunshine on 
the just and the unjust alike, but in human-nature He 
smiles or frowns according to each individual s deserts. 
In Jesus, God might say, " Come unto me," or He 
might make a whip of cords and drive the people out 
of the temple. Prayer does not cause God to change 
His wise and loving purpose, but it does determine how 
He shall execute His holy will. If the conduct of a 
child does not change the father s actions toward him, 
then the father is both foolish and immoral. Men 
should learn that God is even greater in humanity than 
He is in nature. For in the one, He is uniform power, 
while in the other, He is Father, Redeemer, and Friend. 
In the world of wills, God is individual and human. 
And His inner communion with us is greatly intensified 
and clarified when there is added to it His audible voice 
from without. The voice of God speaking to us through 
human lips awakens the voice of God within us. How 
wonderfully clear was the Divine Voice in men s hearts 
when God spoke to them through Jesus ! Likewise when 


the apostle Paul went to a new community, it seemed to 
receptive minds that God had come to town; and they 
were wholly justified in thinking so, for though God had 
been there all the time, powerfully through nature s laws 
and feebly in their darkened hearts, yet for the first 
time God was within their city in clear articulate speech, 
wooing them to Himself. This not only made God seem 
real to them, but it made it easy for them to believe and 
be baptized. Though able to rejoice for a time, yet 
heaviness soon came upon them after Paul s departure, 
because God too seemed to have departed from their 
midst. Neither were they mistaken in this, for God 
had no instrument remaining through which He could 
make Himself so humanly real to them, after His de 
voted and tried servant had gone away. As a result of 
Paul s early departure there would follow unbelief and 
conduct unworthy of Christians. To meet this sad 
state of affairs in the mission churches, God would write 
them a letter, or better still, make them another visit 
in Paul. 

Once there was brought home to me in a very beautiful 
and unexpected manner the Christian truth about God s 
essential oneness with humanity. Weary from my 
afternoon calls, I had just returned home. Entering the 
side hall that was already dark, I saw through the door 
slightly ajar my little son and daughter at play. Philip, 
eight years old, was building up blocks on the floor, while 
Esther, two years younger, was standing under the elec 
tric light with both arms raised as high as she could 


stretch them over her head. Seeing her dramatic posi 
tion, and the unusual look on her face, I remained silent 
in the hall knowing that something was coming. With 
intense feeling she said : 

" Oh, Philip ! of course we would kiss God ! " To 
which Philip replied : 

" Oh, you couldn t kiss God. He is a spirit. Why, 
God is in you, and in me." 

Still standing in her dramatic position with the light 
shining full on her face, she began lowering her arms 
slowly, and as her expression of comprehension deepened 
she said : 

" Oh well then, Philip, if God is in you and in me, 
if we were to kiss each other we would kiss God." 

" Yes, that is right, you would," was his response. 
Then said she : 

" Let us kiss God." He arose promptly, and the chil 
dren, throwing their arms tightly around each other, 
kissed God. 

If ever there was a glad father I was one. Standing 
there in the dark hall I thought : 

" God bless the dear children, they have the evangel. 
That is the very essence of the Christian religion, In 
asmuch as ye did it unto the least of these ye did it 
unto me/ 

Of course we all realize that there are certain 
proprieties which adults must observe, but what could 
be more beautiful than for a little brother and sister so 
to recognize God in each other as to be able to kiss Him ? 


The idea here involved, if carried out in every relation 
of life, would be the Kingdom of God realized. Further 
more, there is no other way of making the Kingdom of 
God a reality, either on earth or in the life beyond. 
Doubtless God never will be seen outside the bodies 
which He provides for Himself and His children to use 
in common. However, we shall have more to say about 
that later. 

A Christian woman has beautifully related an incident 
which brought to her Christ s idea and experience of 
religion. Said she : 

" It was my custom to retire each day to my own room 
for devotion. On one occasion when my heart was 
deeply oppressed my prayers seemed all in vain. Never 
theless, I continued to plead, O Lord Jesus, reveal thy 
self to me. After awhile there came a rap at my door. 
It was the maid seeking comfort. She had broken a 
choice piece of china. But I drove her away rather 
harshly, saying, You know you are not to bother me at 
this hour. Then I continued, O Lord Jesus, reveal thy 
self. After more fruitless prayer, my little girl came 
sobbing for comfort as she had broken her first doll. 
I even drove her away saying, My child, you must not 
disturb your mother now. After resuming what seemed 
to be a useless petition, there came to me a suggestion 
as distinct and forceful as if spoken. Inasmuch as ye 
did it not unto the least of these ye did it not unto me. 
I arose from my knees, unlocked the door, and went out 
In the kitchen I found the maid sullen and angry, to 


whom I spoke comforting words. Seeing the light come 
to her face, I went on to find my little daughter. From 
under the grapevine where she had already cried her 
self to sleep, I picked her up; and after kissing her and 
wiping the tear stains from her cheeks, I told her that I 
would get her another dollie, one ever so much nicer 
than the first. Having comforted others for His sake, 
and for their own sake, my soul was filled with inexpress 
ible peace! And once more something spoke to my in 
nermost being, Inasmuch as ye did it unto the least of 
these ye did it unto me. 

Let no one draw the conclusion that her habit of devo 
tion was worthless, for it is not very likely that all this 
peace and revelation would have come to her if she had 
been less inclined to pray. The intense desire of her 
prayer, coupled with the unpleasant incidents of the day, 
brought to her the fuller truth. 

Though a minister may not neglect his sermons, yet 
there have been times when I have grown so desperate in 
my effort to prepare a vital message that I have thrown 
down my insipid and stupid manuscript to go out and 
find some needy, suffering person whom I could bless in 
His name. Whenever I have done this I have found 
God and my soul and a sermon. 

5. Where does Jesus belong in the religious, social and 
thought worlds? 

When the God Soul and the man soul unite, they so 
lift nature s forces up into personal life that the uni- 


verse no longer lies in broken and confused fragments. 
Jesus is at the center of all things because all things cen 
ter in pure personal life. In Him, the Father-spirit, 
the child-spirit, and nature s forces were so correlated as 
to be newly manifest; the child was completing himself 
in the Father, and the Father was fulfilling Himself in the 
child, while nature was serving as the common instru 
ment of both. Separate the God Soul, the man soul, and 
nature s forces, and no one of them is revealed. Unite 
them as they were in Jesus and the meaning of all three 
appears. Christ s type of life brings all reality into ac 
cord because it combines everything into a composite, per 
sonal life. 

If you wish to know God in the most perfect way, go 
to Jesus; if you care to know man as he should be, go 
to Jesus; if you would look upon God, man, and nature s 
forces in one radiant, wooing personality, go to Jesus. 
If it is the purpose of religionists, sociologists, and philos 
ophers to trace reality to its highest form of expression, 
let them go to Jesus. Yes, let all men go to Jesus with 
their wealth of technical knowledge which they have 
gained in the wide fields of research; and in His pres 
ence, their treasures, like precious gems, will scintillate 
with a divine light. This conjunction in Jesus of all 
streams of reality makes Him the light of the world. 
In the same way, and for the same reason, every per 
son would be the light of the world if the child-spirit 
rendered an obedience to the Father equally loving and 
intelligent. But this is the tragedy, who has rendered 


such obedience! It is the belief of many of us that 
Jesus was never disobedient, even as a little child. 
Though it were admitted that this could not be proved, 
still it would remain a fact that as Jesus " Increased in 
wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man," 
His filial obedience identified Him with the Father. The 
oneness of Deity and humanity was so certainly achieved 
in Jesus that no one can rob him of His glory nor of 
His place as the Messiah. He was the first to open wide 
the door to God ; yea more, He was the door. In Jesus, 
we come face to face with the personal God and with our 
Elder Brother who lived in God. In Him, the perfect 
God was living in man, and the perfect man was living in 
God, while unitedly they were living among men as a 
visible member of society. 

Taking the world as it is, the presence of God in hu 
manity could but bring both peace and trouble ; it brought 
joy to the pure in heart, and bitter hatred and strife to 
those who loved darkness rather than light because their 
deeds were evil. The weary and the noble were attracted 
to Jesus, while the vicious and the self-willed hurled them 
selves against Him with mad fury; but it was ever so, 
from the beginning of human history until the present 
hour. Whenever God has made His approach in human 
life, the evil-in-heart have opposed Him; they have killed 
the prophets, and stoned God when He came unto them. 
In our own day, many who speak beautifully of God in 
nature, are fiercely angry with Him when He appears 
among them in a good man; they are willing to believe 


that God is in that part of nature which soothes their 
senses, but they are not willing to believe that He is in 
the man who irritates them by opposing their wicked ways, 
or by hindering them in their pursuit of ill-gotten gains 
and illicit pleasures. Therefore, when God in Jesus so 
fully and perfectly entered society, it is not strange that 
they put Him to death. However, in killing Jesus they 
unwittingly exalted Him ; in this act they brought to light 
the heinousness of sin, the inexpressible love of God, and 
the compassion of the child Jesus for his sinful brothers. 
It is before the cross, if anywhere, that men are led to 
repentance; it is there, if anywhere, that the heart is both 
broken and healed. Before such wondrous love the 
world may well pause and sing : 

"In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o er the wrecks of 

All the light of sacred story gathers round its head sublime." 

6. Can God die? 

Yes, God can die. Three years ago after the Sunday 
morning service I received a telegram saying, " Mother 
died this morning at six-thirty. Come!" Now, what 
did my sisters mean by this information ; did they intend 
to convey the idea that our mother had become extinct? 
Not at all, they only meant that she had lost the dear old 
instrument that we had known for so many years in this 
earthly home. Death never signifies more than this to 
the Christian. Though we said she was dead, we believed 


our mother to be more alive than ever. If death is 
simply the loss of our instrument, the body, then God 
too can die, for He may lose His body. God died on 
the cross with His child, because the Father-spirit, no 
less than the child-spirit, lost His beautiful instrument in 
which He had walked by the shores of Galilee, teaching 
and comforting the people. If Jesus would not forsake 
the Father in the agony of the Garden, we may be sure 
that the Father did not forsake His child on the cross. 
As they were united in life they were undivided in 
death. To think that Jesus any more than the Father 
was conscious of the pain, is to make Jesus greater 
than God. The God who creates the body, moment by 
moment, must know the thrill of every nerve, since they 
are His own nerves which He shares with His child. 
Yet it is not the pain nor the indignity heaped upon the 
Father and His Holy Child that we are here emphasizing, 
but the fact that He lost the instrument by means of 
which He had been a living person among men. The 
disciples scattered in sorrow and bewilderment, when 
God and His Child Jesus died on the cross. The Father 
had no form left on earth through which He could con 
tinue to speak unerring words of wisdom and love. 
One year before my mother died she enfolded me once 
more in her arms and blessed me, saying, " My son, I 
shall never see you again on earth/ Hastening home at 
the summons of my sisters I looked again on the dear 
old instrument, but the hand of welcome was not extended, 
and the lips did not speak. In like manner when the 


limp body of Jesus was taken from the cross, the lips 
no longer said, " I and the Father are one, He that hath 
seen me hath seen the Father." Those lifeless hands were 
no longer outstretched, and pleading, " Come unto me all 
ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you 
rest." Yes, God can die; He can lose His human instru 
ments on earth. He can likewise die to society by being 
robbed of His highest instruments. If no man, woman, 
or child in my city would let God come to articulate speech 
or deed through his body, God would be stone dead in 
Bridgeport; He would be as dead as the spirits whose 
bodies lie in our cemeteries. As already indicated, I do 
not mean, even in that sad event, that God would not 
still be in Bridgeport as the power of the all-pervad 
ing atmosphere, or as the mighty force of the waves that 
lash our shores. His energy would still be scintillating 
in the lamps of the white way, and shedding a soft light 
in the smaller lamps that brighten our homes ; His would 
still be the energy propelling all the thundering mills of 
industry, and the power sustaining the nerves and 
muscles that operate the machinery; He would still be 
present in the blazing sun by day and in the twinkling 
stars by night ; He would still wrap us round, and enfold 
ing us in His great universe He would watch over us 
by day and brood over us by night; and yet for all this, 
if we entirely robbed Him of all His human bodies He, 
as a member of society, would be completely dead in 
Bridgeport. If in his own life every one killed God, men 
would then devour one another. As it is, God is partly 


dead and partly alive in my city, as in all cities ; and hence 
we are sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse to 
one another. God may be manifestly alive in one per 
son, and nearly dead in the same man s nearest neighbor ; 
and He is more or less dead and alive in the best of us. 
When God can no longer get to the surface through men s 
souls, and bodies, and institutions, He is dead in that 
locality. And when God is dead through the loss of 
men, society is spiritually dead through the loss of God. 
The living God is not one who is driven out of His king 
dom and reduced to a mere operator of the cosmos. The 
living God is not one who is persecuted by His children 
and driven from home while His business is going to 
rack and ruin. A living God must be active in His uni 
verse from center to circumference. Until our bodies 
are God s obedient instruments there is no kingdom of 
God. There is not the slightest reason for thinking there 
is a kingdom of God anywhere in the universe unless God 
has children somewhere who are permitting Him to live 
through the instruments with which He enfolds them. 
Until God is permitted to live in His own bodies, He is 
dead and His children are languishing. 

If the Christian religion were understood and believed 
and practiced, what a transformation it would work! 
For instance, if every man, woman, and child in my city 
rendered perfect obedience to God, then every human 
body in Bridgeport would become His very own to use, 
and God Himself would throng our streets. We should 


meet Him face to face in individuals and crowds. It 
would be Emmanuel, or " God-with-us " everywhere. 
All faces would be bright with the wisdom and goodness 
of God. Every individual would be our Infinite Father 
and our brother in one. What a rapid human growth 
would ensue! Every living person would be a window 
through which the light of God would shine. There 
would be young minds like the child Jesus in the temple, 
just waking to the mind of God, and ripe saints and sages 
flooding the community with God s vaster wisdom and 
ipro founder love. Not only would our immediate bodies 
be cleansed and transformed, but our augmented bodies 
would be brought into harmony with the divine Will. 
Our city would become a heavenly abode, and our in 
dustries would become the instruments of love and 
righteousness. We should tap a thousand sources of 
power that now remain idle, and finding unlimited re 
sources within ourselves and our environments, we would 
work wonders. While making God s energies our en 
larged and purified bodies, we should at the same time turn 
them into instruments of God s love. If God were per 
mitted to come to the surface perfectly in all our lives, 
and in all with which we have to do, three years would 
not pass until people would be making pilgrimages from 
the ends of the earth to see the city " where God lives." 
In a previous chapter I said that God, as a solitary per 
son in the universe, would not mine coal, and run steam 
engines; but now allow me to say that if there is any- 


thing God wants to do it is to get into the railroad busi 
ness; and if He does not, it will be because men vote 
Him out. But in shutting God out of railroad corpora 
tions, what are we doing? Though not fully aware of it, 
yet we are really saying, " O God, you may be the energy 
in the steel rails, you may be the power in the wheels, 
you may be the expansive force of the steam, you may 
manage the chemical combinations of the wheat or other 
cargo, you may furnish us with our bodies, you may do 
everything but dictate terms of business. If, however, 
you want to sit at the desk as the senior partner then our 
answer is, * Get down and out, O God. We are glad to 
have you as our slave and lackey, we are delighted to use 
you and exploit you, but woe to the man or men who 
plead your cause in connection with our private business." 
Such is the enormity of our sin, and the denseness of 
our ignorance when we shut God out of our business af 
fairs. If God may not be in our daily enterprises He 
will not deign to be in our prayer meetings. This is the 
message of Jesus to all men, to employers and employees 
alike ; this is the will of God, that in and through His chil 
dren He may make all things vocal with His wisdom, 
and beautiful with His love. Scholars may look into 
nerves and brain, but the spirit is fully revealed before 
the face and not back of it. So the infinite God and 
Father of our spirits is fully revealed, if at all, in benig 
nant eyes, friendly hands, willing feet, and gracious 
words. It is the way we grow our bodies, and shape 
our institutions, and manipulate all the forces of nature 


that we reveal what manner of spirits we are. If our 
spirits are evil, then God is denied bodily expression. 
There is no use saying Lord, Lord, if we do not the 
things which He tells us. 



A general statement 

The " what " and " where " of God is still incomplete 
so long as we confine our thought to the mere fragment 
of time measured by this earth life. Though we have 
found the unity of all parts in the Christ life, yet that 
unity is and can be but imperfectly realized by society on 
earth. A longer time and a wider sphere must be con 
sidered if we are really to know what God and man is. 
Therefore, God, man, and the universe must be viewed in 
the light of endless time. 

If in certain respects this generation is conspicuous for 
its lack of faith, in other respects it is notable for its 
abundance of faith. The new knowledge acquired along 
many lines instead of destroying our belief in immor 
tality is going to enrich it immeasurably when we have 
thoroughly digested the facts. In the meantime some 
minds are bound to be disquieted. 

It is most fortunate that the majority of people seem 
able to accept the fact of a future life as something al 
together natural and inevitable. Those who are not able 
to do so, however, appear to be increasing in number. 



Yet we may rest assured that whatever will save the faith 
of the doubting ones will enrich the faith of those who 
find it easy to believe. And if those who doubt are not 
as numerous as sometimes appears, so much the better. 
Whatever the real situation may be, it is our privilege 
and duty to deepen and enrich our faith to the extent of 
our ability. That so many express doubts on the sub 
ject of immortality is something to be deplored and, if 
possible, remedied. 

An old man, highly esteemed, despondingly said to me 
after the funeral of his friend : 

" We hope there is something beyond, but we do not 

In response to my word of assurance, he grew even 
more pensive and added, " No one has ever returned." 

To say the least this life-long member of the Church 
saw nothing in future prospects to cheer his declining 
years. As I gave his feeble hand a warm clasp, I pain 
fully realized that the light was fading from his soul 
as well as from his eyes. 

On my first visit after the funeral of a senior deacon, 
his widow plaintively repeated the words of the old 

" We hope there is something beyond, but we do not 

My prompt response was immediately checked by a 
languid wave of the hand, and an emphatic, "No one 
can know." 

This uncertain state of mind is in striking contrast 


with that of the saints and martyrs ; it cannot say, " To 
me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." 

Some highly honorable people tell me that they have 
no desire to live again, and express wonder that anyone 
has such a desire. The good influence we may leave be 
hind us, they think, is immortality enough. 

A general loss of faith in immortality, I am confident, 
would work irreparable harm to society. It would com 
pletely destroy religion. The Church, therefore, should 
do its utmost to keep alive a rational and heartfelt as 
surance of immortality. This, I am sure, can be done 
without, in any way, stultifying the intellect. In fact, 
the intellect must be made our ally if we are to succeed. 

At this point the remark of a woman ninety years old 
is very significant and reassuring. After reading a popu 
lar book of the day on immortality, she said : 

" I did not like it. I do not want anyone to try to 
prove immortality by science, because he cannot do it. 
I grasp the reality of a future life with my whole 

Why are so many people losing their assurance of 

i. The contagion of doubt 

There is a contagion of doubt as well as a contagion of 
faith. With facts still favorable to a victory, an army 
may lose morale. When the general and all his officers 
keep hopeful, their confidence works its way down to the 


enlisted men. If the hopeful word is on many lips the 
morale is saved, and the whole army is confident of 
victory. Witnessing to any belief has a tremendous 
psychic influence for good or evil. The facts concern 
ing any great subject are never deeply analyzed by the 
masses; yet the people possess a rare power for sensing 
the spirit of their times. 

In the fight for Eternal Life the morale of the Church 
is too low. The confidence at the top is not always as 
rugged and commanding as it might be. Too many col 
lege men are confused in a jumble of ideas, and some of 
them, unfortunately, give their testimony on the side of 

No one should give an insincere testimony for the sake 
of helping out a weak cause. Yet many college men are 
greatly remiss in not giving more careful consideration to 
a theme that vitally affects all human interests. 

At all events, the masses hear many expressions of 
doubt, and are not slow to pass them on. A large num 
ber of people who stand aloof from the Churches hear 
a dozen denials to one affirmation of belief in immor 
tality. Many radical socialists carry on a determined 
propaganda against belief in immortality for political 
and economic reasons. They say to the restless crowds : 

The Church is fooling you with the hope that the 
wrongs of this life will be righted in another; but there 
is no other. If ever you get your share of good things 
you must get it soon, for your life is short. Therefore, 
down with the Church and king capital! " 


I am not fearful for the grounds on which the as 
surance of this great Christian belief rests, but I am dis 
turbed over the prevalent ignorance and indifference 

2. The inability to make a religious use of modern 

The Christian view of life in its relation to the whole 
body of modern information has not been adequately 
given to the people. And they are seriously affected in 
consequence of this neglect. That irreligion does not 
tend toward assurance of immortality I regard as an in 
controvertible position. Yet to say that all doubt is due 
to a lack of Christian devotion is not true. Many good 
Christians are confused, and seek help to regain the com 
forting belief that death does not end all. All clearly 
ascertained truth about the universe should prove a help 
to faith, but until people know what to do with so many 
new facts, they prove a decided hindrance. 

Take for example just one popular subject of the day, 
physiological psychology : When taught by men who have 
never grasped the Christian philosophy of life, it affords 
the shortest possible road to atheism and the denial of the 
human soul. This modern branch of learning, though the 
finest of servants, is the meanest of masters. It has slain 
its thousands. Physiological psychology has its own field 
of investigation, but it is never safe when it parts company 
with sound philosophy. 


3. The loss of a satisfying conception of the future life 

In sharp contrast with former times, this generation 
has no satisfying conception of the future life. And 
naturally an indefinite and hazy future makes but slight 
appeal. Many instinctively turn from such a future to 
save their peace of mind. They prefer something that 
is definite and interesting. It is a matter of common ex 
perience that the heart will not glow if there is no pic 
ture on the canvas. Unless we can so adjust the lens of 
our minds as to project something more than confused 
colors, we shall never bring back the former interest in 
a future life. Unfortunately, there has not been much 
striving on the part of the Church to construct a future 
that will harmonize with the newly discovered constitu 
tion of the universe. And without this end in view all 
striving would be in vain; nothing will avail that does 
not relate the future to the divine framework of God s 
present Universe. 

The common conception of heaven has been of some 
thing quite apart from the existing world as we know it. 
Among all with whom I have conversed, I have not found 
one who expects to have a physical body in the future life. 
They have erroneously interpreted a " spiritual body " 
to mean a spirit body. This crude idea of a spirit body 
is a fair sample of a hundred other fancies and miscon 

When the commonly accepted idea of heaven became as 
distasteful to the minister as it was to many of his con- 


gregation, he stopped preaching about it. The laity may 
no longer be seen enjoying a rapturous contemplation of 
future bliss. Instead, they accuse persons so inclined of 
other-worldliness, and point out to them that they are 
not as good as they might be here and now. So, for one 
reason or another we seldom give more than a furtive 
glance at that which lies beyond the grave. In proportion 
as the vision has gone from the mind, the sense has faded 
from the soul. The old picture of heaven has become al 
together inadequate, and no other has been put in its 
place. Considering the sudden transition through which 
the world has been passing, possibly this state of affairs 
was inevitable. 

4. The growing habit of classifying the future with things 
unknown and unknowable 

At last there has arisen in the Church a considerable 
class that strives to discourage any effort to inquire into 
the future life. " One world at a time " is their motto. 
The future is classed among things unknown and unknow 
able. This type of mind is trying to arouse interest in 
the present by drawing attention from the future. 

Said a woman professor to a student : 

" If ministers would talk less of things about which 
they can know nothing and do more to help those about 
them, they would show more sense and accomplish a great 
deal more good." 

I think I know some ministers who might do more for 


their environments, but I happen to know of none who 
talk much about the future. This teacher so enthusiastic 
over a fragment of the truth has never suspected how 
meager and one-sided her education is. She has not 
grasped the thought of our age which recognizes, above 
everything else, the unity and solidarity of things. So 
she protests against any rounded-out conception of life. 
It is not strange, therefore, that immortality is to her a 
disagreeable theme that she would like to see tabooed. 

A professional man once said to me: 

" When you came on the train the other day our mu 
tual friend, Mr. A. said, There is the Parson, and then 
nudging me remarked, * Say, he knows no more about 
the other world than we do, does he ? 

" So that is what you were talking about," I replied. 
" Well, I am surprised. I thought you were modern 
men, and knew that there is no other world. Science, 
philosophy, religion, and common sense, teach us that there 
is but one world, a uni-verse. We now live in all the world 
there is. But since we have not penetrated it very deeply, 
if your friend had remarked that the minister was no more 
developed than you, or that he had gone no deeper into 
the meaning of the universe than you, he would at least 
have been on debatable ground. When, however, two 
men of your opportunities could sit there and talk about 
another world, I am ashamed of you. The universe is 
as much one as my watch is one. Every particle of it 
enfolds us continually and never ceases to pour its 
energies through us. Every part of the universe is beat- 


ing upon us to waken us, if possible, to its meaning. If 
I live for an eternity, I shall be in the same world as now, 
and what I truthfully know about it now will still be true 
after my body has decayed. God s one-world is the only 

No wonder that people become confused and mixed up 
with their plural worlds, and broken fragments of worlds. 

5. An inadequate conception of the Kingdom of God 

More than a generation ago it came to us like a new 
discovery that while Jesus rarely spoke of heaven, the 
expression, " Kingdom of Heaven," was continually on 
His lips. This discovery turned the whole tide. And 
since then, " The Kingdom of God on Earth " has been 
the theme of the Church. 

While heartily agreeing with this discovery, and 
sympathizing with the new aim, I still seriously doubt 
whether we have seen the kingdom of heaven in any such 
full-orbed sense as Jesus intended we should. Too often 
we unwittingly preach a kingdom of earth on earth; we 
leave something out. That which Jesus preached was 
somehow more religious. Surely it is an inadequate 
kingdom of God when it, as so often happens, degener 
ates into a mere scientific cooking-school, or a mere scien 
tific system of sanitation, or a mere several other things 
lacking in God motive and God consciousness. The 
Kingdom of God is more than a program of social serv 
ice ; it is a God-filled and God-ruled society. A genuine 


Kingdom of God on earth will be pervaded by a heavenly 
atmosphere. Even a social religion may become so un 
social as to eliminate the Head of society; it may consign 
Him to the oblivion of forgetfulness. 

No woman, whose duty it is to be a cook, can be a 
perfect Christian while she is careless about the prepara 
tion of food for her family. Yet one may be a scientific 
cook without being a Christian. It requires more than 
beautiful, material conditions to make the kingdom of 
God on earth. 

I know families with beautiful mahogany dining rooms 
and all that goes with them, whose good food is so well 
cooked that it almost melts in their mouths, and yet they 
give God no thanks. Indeed, there are those thus situated 
who think nothing about God. 

This is not meant to imply that the conditions of 
poverty and ignorance are any more favorable to a Chris 
tian life. 

Coming one day from a poor family s home across the 
street, my little son said : 

"Papa, does Mr. R. love the Lord?" When I told 
him that I did not know, " Well," he replied, " I don t 
believe he does, because he sat down at the table to-day 
with his coat off and never thanked the Lord for his food. 
He just looked around and said, Pass the taters, and 
that is all he said." 

From what I knew of this poor man, he was probably 
neither more nor less a pagan than the man with a ma 
hogany dining room. The doctrine of the kingdom of 


God on earth, with but little consciousness of God, is 
surely increasing among rich and poor, both in the Church 
and out of the Church. And as personal acquaintance 
with God goes, the assurance of immortality invariably 

Many women, of varying degrees of intelligence and 
social standing, are doing commendable social work for 
the love of humanity with but dim consciousness of God. 
It has come to pass that fine women may whisk about in 
silks and limousines visiting day-nurseries and the like 
without bending the knee to the Father or remembering 
that the babies are God s little ones. Yet no right- 
minded person wishes to diminish the social service of this 
day by whomsoever rendered. On the contrary, he feels 
that the Church which overlooks the poor babies should 
have a millstone hanged about its neck and be cast into 
the sea. Nevertheless, a kingdom without the conscious 
ness of God in the hearts of its subjects will never succeed 
in saving the assurance of immortality. The old religion 
could not succeed without a bottom, and the new religion 
will not succeed without a top. This topless kingdom, 
spreading far beyond the Church, is making many feel 
that they are better off without the Church. Some of 
these are sincere and substantial men and women, while 
others of them are extremely superficial. 

Many of the latter class will tell you with real self- 
appreciation that they look after poor stray kitties, and 
feed the birdies in cold weather, and in fact befriend all 
the animals. Really, they are too busy with good works 


among animals and needy people to go to church and, 
as one of them told me, they are not among the narrow- 
minded people anyway " Who believe in hell." 

This generation needs to learn the necessity, and the 
sane psychology, of Christian experience. To put it 
plainly, it should be converted to God. With God in our 
thoughts and affections we can hardly be too careful about 
the material side of His kingdom; for the religion of 
Jesus means the spiritualizing of the material, all the way 
from our bodies to the end of the material forces that 
are at our command. Though ever so many cups of 
cold water be given, if they are not given in His name 
or with a consciousness of His share in the gift, the kindly 
deed will not impart to us Christ s assurance of life 

6. We automatically lose the assurance of the future 
when we lose the reality of the present 

Because he has nothing in his ice-bound world, the Es 
kimo hopes for nothing. There is nothing within his 
present grasp that suggests great things to come. 
Whereas, the civilized man hopes for a glorious future 
not yet attained because he sees that the present warrants 
such a hope. No one can reasonably hope for that which 
the present does not justify. Only let him be sure that he 
knows the present. Men who miscalculate the future 
usually do so because they fail to apprehend the present 
facts. We cannot judge what the fruit will be unless we 


know the particular variety of tree. The future history 
of the universe depends upon whether there is a God now. 
Either there is or there is not a God. If there is, the one 
not knowing Him has a very superficial knowledge of the 
world that now is. A God-projected and a God-filled 
world will have a very different future from a world of 
mindless ether and mindless electrons. The discovery of 
electricity and some knowledge of its behavior were neces 
sary before men could dream of electric cars and electric, 
lights. When electricity and some of the laws were 
known, however, the dream was unavoidable, and like 
many another rational prediction it has come true. When 
the thought of God fades, Christian hope dies. If one 
is only agnostic with reference to the existence of God, 
he is simply agnostic on the subject of immortality. In 
exact proportion as we lose connection with the deeper 
realities of the present, we forfeit insight into the future. 
As one who is entirely ignorant of chemistry has no 
criteria by which to judge the future of chemistry, so the 
one having no personal consciousness of God, nor clear 
vision of the deeper meanings of life, has no data for a 
rational prediction of the future. Paul said that the 
rulers of his day did not know spiritual things, or they 
" Would not have crucified the Lord of glory." Not 
knowing God, naturally they did not recognize His pur 
pose when they met it in the character and teachings of 
Jesus; so they ignorantly put Jesus to death. Things 
which their eyes saw not and their ears heard not, were 
recognized by those who knew God. " For who among 


men knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of the 
man, which is in him? Even so the things of God none 
knoweth, save the Spirit of God. But we received the 
spirit which is from God; that we might know." 

Our expectations for the future always rise sponta 
neously out of our vision of the present. Whether it will 
rain within the next forty-eight hours I can but imper 
fectly predict because I recognize but a few vague 
weather conditions. The weather bureau, however, with 
many more present facts at its command may predict 
with far greater certainty. 

The man who knows nothing but a material universe 
cannot believe in immortality. Any effort to convince 
him is but a waste of breath. If he is right in thinking 
that the universe has no soul, then he is right in believing 
that there is no future life. 

The Soul granting that it has a Soul is the best 
part of the universe. To have lost God, therefore, is to 
have lost the best part of reality. And the loss does not 
end here, for, in the best sense, we have lost the world 
also. Though its chemistry and physics remain the same, 
its higher meaning and finer uses no longer exist, for us, 
when God is eliminated. To comprehend the universe 
we must know it philosophically, poetically, and reli 
giously, as well as scientifically. Some unwisely think that 
to know it scientifically and poetically is enough. If the 
forces of nature are energies proceeding from an Infinite 
Mind, and if we might so use these forces as to express 
His wisdom and love in all human relations, then the 


universe is fundamentally different from the atheist s 
world. The one who does not recognize an infinite Mind 
of love and righteousness, must prostitute the world to 
uses lower than the highest. And as soon as he does 
this he has not only lost the Soul of the universe, but 
in the very finest sense he has lost the body of the uni 
verse as well. On such a poor foundation, his common 
sense saves him from the folly of trying to build a temple 
that pierces the skies. He may still remain a gentleman, 
and have a most kindly and unselfish disposition within 
certain limits, but at a thousand points he will find his 
will at right angles with the one who lives in a different 
world, in a world that warrants the long look. I have 
experienced the world from both points of view. And 
though my common conduct did not vary greatly, yet 
when I was deeply conscious of God, and saw the uni 
verse all vibrant with His thought and love, my life in 
its inner meaning and quality was different from center 
to circumference. 

Here, then, is the crux of the whole matter. In so far 
as we have lost the assurance of a future life, it is be 
cause we have lost so much of the present that what 
remains of it is not sufficient to arouse a lively anticipa 
tion of immortality. True, our sense of reality is op 
pressively intense in the physical realm; we clutch, with 
death-like grip, that from which the Soul has escaped. 
But the husk will not support spiritual life nor give as 
surance of the life to come. 



How shall we find the assurance of immortality? 

i. We automatically find the assurance of the future when we 
find the reality of the present. 

Naturally, assurance will be found, if at all, where it 
was lost. We shall automatically find the assurance of 
the future when we find the reality of the present. 

It is not claimed that all professing Christians have a 
firm grasp on reality ; for when religion is no more than 
a superficial formality, its credulous devotees experience 
neither truth nor doubt; they are religious automatons. 
But if we do not allow such Christians to attract us to 
heaven, neither should we permit them to drive us to 

If one succeeds in finding God, if he learns to grasp 
the religious significance of the universe, and if he 
achieves a personal experience of the kingdom of God, 
assurance of the future will come unbidden and unsought. 
These great and present realities are the gateway to life 
and the guarantee of good things to come. Only let one 
find, assimilate, and build upon this three-fold present, 
and the soul will blossom into hope. 


Some reasons why the quest for reality is not more fre 
quently and earnestly undertaken. 

a. The moral failure of Christians 

Some refrain from any effort to make religious attain 
ments because of the moral failures among professing 
Christians. But there are many failures in business, edu 
cation, citizenship, and every other line of human en 
deavor that is worth while. On that basis a person would 
refuse to live at all. We all know there are some re 
ligious sceptics who are much more upright than some 
believers. From a Christian civilization they have inher 
ited strong wills, a deep moral sense, and physical bodies 
with no marked weakness. Many of them have kindly 
dispositions and charming graces. Among their most 
helpful friends and favorite authors they count many of 
the best religious people. They themselves are one of the 
best by-products of Christianity. If they did not live 
in a Christian civilization they would not be what they 
are. Many such are doubters simply because they have 
not found their religious teachers. They have probably 
encountered that which, for their type of mind, was a 
very unfortunate religious environment. It would have 
been better for some people if they had had different 
parents, or a different Church, or both. However, it is 
a simple matter of observation that a large percentage of 
humanity is weak whether believing or sceptical, whether 
it goes to Church or does not go to Church. A man who 


has a real saint in him may at the same time have seven 
devils in himself to fight. With no patriotic ideals or 
emotions some men can keep morally straight, while some 
noble self-sacrificing patriot may, if he is not very care 
ful, fall into the ditch. It is fortunate that some doubters 
are so good, and a pity that some Christians are so bad ; 
but regardless of just how good or bad any of us is, if 
this universe has a Soul it is of the greatest importance 
that we make His personal acquaintance and learn His 
plans; and if in anything we have deviated from His 
plans we should humbly repent and get in line with the 
Power that must ultimately break us if it cannot make us. 
If one is strong enough to perform ordinary duties with 
out the conscious help of God, that is no reason why he 
should run away from his Father and treat Him with 
silent contempt. The Father desires the company of His 
son, and in a thousand ways great and small needs His 
son s help. 

b. Because the average Christian cannot answer 
technical questions 

Others regard the religious verities lightly because the 
average Christian cannot answer technical questions per 
taining to his faith. Yet there is not one cultivated per 
son in a thousand that can answer technical questions 
concerning the material universe in which we all live. 
The most highly civilized and prosperous community suc 
ceeds simply because it relies on the technical knowledge 


of the few. Most of us know electricity neither prac 
tically nor theoretically. Even among practical elec 
tricians, how many could answer more than the simplest 
questions? It requires no profound knowledge of the 
subject to wire a house and give its occupants light and 
comfort. Yet the practical electrician knows as well as 
the expert that he is dealing with a real force, and may 
be able tt> wire the house better than the theoretical elec 
trician himself could do. How many good cooks are 
there who could chemically analyze the food which they 
have prepared for their families ? It is absurd to expect 
the average Christian to go into all the psychology and 
philosophy of his religion; as it is absurd to deny the 
reality of his experience because a full analysis is not 
forthcoming. The large majority of people have neither 
time nor qualifications to go into an exhaustive and tech 
nical examination of the philosophy and science of re 
ligion, any more than they have to go into the philosophy 
and science of the material world. Fortunately, a more 
^practical way stands wide open to them. Because men 
are men, they may possess the great realities before they 
can adequately explain them. They know the stars before 
they are astronomers. They have an implicit knowledge 
of God which under right conditions becomes explicit. 
They have intuitions and common sense, the foundation 
of all knowledge. It is their privilege, likewise, to put 
things to the severe test of use. In the material world 
men risk their lives and fortunes on the truth of sciences 
of which, at first hand, they are totally ignorant. But 


by so doing they find themselves the richer and the wiser. 
Likewise, the Christian multitudes who take the spiritual 
world practically, find themselves the recipients of untold 
blessings. Their knowledge, to be sure, is only practical, 
but it is their knowledge, and they would be willing to 
die for it if necessary. One may have the reality without 
the analysis, or he may have the analysis without the 
reality, or, unfortunately, he may have neither. The 
happiest possible situation is where he has both. A man 
may be justified in giving money and labor for the support 
and extension of religion without himself being a psy 
chologist or a theologian. Just as the men who have 
given the most money for the advancement of the sciences 
do not know enough about these sciences to teach them. 
Yet we do not call them fools; we highly esteem them 
as philanthropists and benefactors. They are often as 
intellectual in the practical world as the scholars are in 
the scientific world. The practical and theoretical every 
where supplement each other. 

There should be experts, by all means, who know re 
ligion technically as well as practically. And to these 
many inquiring troubled minds should go for help, just 
as the business man goes to the experts for knowledge 
that lies beyond him. Some sceptics take special delight 
in perplexing common Christians with the deepest phil 
osophical aspects of their faith. Why do they not go 
to the experts ? Many religious doubters never go to any 
one with their problems; while others of a more super 
ficial character go to the religious quacks, and thence- 


forward help to swell the ranks of some ridiculous or 
fanatical religion. 

It is doubtless true that almost every one could find 
his religious teacher if only he would look for him; one 
who could interpret religion in such a way as to satisfy 
his reason and meet his deepest need. If there is any 
possible way of bringing honest doubters and religious 
experts together it should be done for their mutual bene 
fit. But here is one of the gravest practical difficulties 
that we have to face. 

c. Antiquated forms irritating to sceptics 

Crude ideas still cling to the popular statements of 
religion as barnacles cling to a ship. This unfortunate 
and unnecessary fact drives away from the Church many 
conscientious minds. Though not many of us are scien 
tists, yet we all live in a fairly well reconstructed material 
universe. Without knowing any mathematical astron 
omy our general notion of the heavens is fairly correct. 
Ignorant as we are of physics and chemistry, yet we have 
in our minds a moderately fair picture of a world that 
is compounded from the gases. The old picture of the 
material world has given place to the new, even among 
the uneducated masses. But, sad to say, the simple, com 
plete picture of the reconstructed religious world has 
never been given to the masses. Sometimes we lug in a 
little of the dry and technical science that lies back of the 
new picture, but rarely do we give the picture concrete 


and whole, unburdened and untrammeled by the techni 
cal substratum. As a result only a handful of Christians 
have the simple, modern conception of religion in any 
thing like complete form. Yet no task should be easier 
or more delightful than just this work of giving the people 
a complete picture of the religious world in which we 
live. Recently I met a man who is a good worker in one 
of the most prominent churches in America, and I was 
surprised to find that his ideas of religion compare with 
those of his renowned minister as the Ptolemaic astron 
omy compares with the Copernican, and yet he has no 
realization of the discrepancy. His capable minister 
should draw the picture for him. A great many sincere 
and genuine churches greatly irritate the sceptical mind 
because of the forms in which their religious ideas are 
clothed. Like a grapevine that is never trimmed, their 
faith is free and easy and of luxurious growth. To the 
critical doubter the suffocating atmosphere of the Church 
seems unreasoning and unreasonable. It is not that he 
wants something learned, but something that does not 
rough his mind into a state of irritation. The mischief 
done is great. 

It is the imperative duty of some people to go to an 
other Church ; and in some cases to another denomination. 
Though the fault is on both sides, yet they will never be 
able to make a harmonious adjustment. 

Instead of finding a church, or some specialist, that 
could teach him, unfortunately and untruthfully the scep 
tic usually decides that it is impossible for him to be a 


Christian. So he resolves to be what he regards as an 
upright man and lets it go at that. But he does not find 
the great realities, except in a most vague and attenuated 

d. The provincialism of sceptics 

The most hopeless situation of all is where sceptics 
consort almost wholly with sceptics. They can soon kill 
the last remnant of religion that lingers in their hearts. 
The provincialism of doubt may be even greater than the 
provincialism of a bigoted faith. In their hearts, scep 
tics often try and condemn intelligent Christians with but 
slight knowledge of what the Christians believe and with 
even less knowledge of why they believe it. Many doubt 
ing minds take it for granted that all Christians conceive 
of religion as they themselves did when they were chil 
dren in Sunday school, or boys and girls in a Junior En 
deavor society. They think that a little scientific knowl 
edge of the material universe makes anything more than 
agnosticism impossible. If their knowledge of religion 
and their philosophical knowledge of the universe were 
all that is known, they would be right. By learning a 
little more of religion, and by acquiring a better philo 
sophical as well as scientific knowledge of the material uni 
verse many have regained their grasp on God. For such 
as have come to see God as the center and Soul of all 
things, natural science, instead of being a hindrance to, 
has become one illuminating phase of theology. As a 
Christian believer, I find myself continually going to ex- 


pert scientists to ascertain their latest findings. And I 
can truthfully say that, from a religious point of view, 
their verifiable report is always interesting. It is good 
news. It lifts me to higher levels of thought, to nobler 
planes of social conduct, and to loftier heights of fellow 
ship with God and men. God s blessings on any man that 
discovers anything new in God s world and reports it 
correctly ! 

A friend once said to me : 

" I do not know whether there is a God or not, and 
I am not going to bother my head about it; I am just 
going to wait and see." 

If, however, he finds himself alive after the death of 
his body, I venture to assert that the old problem of find 
ing God will still confront him. We may rest assured 
that there is no ghost-God to be seen after death. This 
man has utterly misconceived of God and of the method 
of finding Him. Death will not be a substitute for spir 
itual development. If ever he finds God it will be as a 
Loving Intelligent Will, and not as a glorious ghost on 
which his physical eyes may look. " God is a spirit, and 
they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and 
in truth." If we would know God we must seek Him 
as He is, and not as something which He is not. 

Let the sceptic consider well this statement: So far 
as we can see, everything would necessarily appear just 
as it does if there were a God. I have never interrogated 
any one who could suggest anything to the contrary. If 
God actually exists, we shall never know Him as we know 


man with local form and articulate speech, unless we come 
to recognize Him in man. I dare say we shall never be 
come acquainted with God save as we learn to know Him 
in our own souls, in other people, and in nature. So if 
we ever expect to know Him we would as well put forth 
the effort to know Him now. If it could be proved that 
there is a God we should still need to find Him. But if 
we find him we have no need of further proof. Our 
problem then is not one of proving, but of finding. 

2. Equal striving for spiritual and material things is 

All normal people have senses which give them phys 
ical objects. Without these, we could not commence to 
live a rational life. But we must acquire some sense to 
make our senses of value. Most of our seeing, in the 
physical as well as in the spiritual, is with our sense and 
not alone with our senses. To achieve insight in any line 
requires effort. The man who has senses only, lacks the 
insight of the man who has both sense and senses. There 
fore we must earn not only our bread by the sweat of 
our brow, but everything else which has priceless worth. 

How covetous we all are for the material side of things ! 
That we may truthfully know and really possess the ma 
terial side of the universe, we put forth prolonged and 
painful effort. Our striving, however, to know and to 
possess the Soul of the universe is pitifully meager. If 
we strove no harder for the former than we do for the 


latter we should be ignorant and poor beyond recognition. 
Having long neglected the Soul of the universe we look 
up, occasionally, and demand proof that the world has a 
Soul. However, it is not proof that we need, but reli 
gious insight. If I ask proof that classical music is beau 
tiful, I must either take other people s word for it or else 
acquire musical sense by living with classical music and 
classical musicians. The senses of the average man pro 
nounce classical music very ugly. Mathematical or busi 
ness ability will not suffice; it will more likely hinder, 
because as a rule it has been acquired at the expense of 
musical development. There are those who actually make 
fun of classical music without any realization of their 
personal defect which they are advertising. Charles 
Darwin was probably never surpassed in the amount of 
data gathered for scientific observations. And yet, there 
are persons in every civilized village in the world who are 
better judges of music; and Paul, to say nothing of 
Jesus, was so far ahead of him in religious insight that 
the contrast is painful. In every realm of knowledge 
known to man, so-called proof is but seeing and under 
standing and appreciating. Logic does not prove any 
thing. If for our major premise we say all normal men 
are rational, we rest our belief on observation. If for 
our minor premise we affirm that here is a normal man, 
we do so on the ground of observation. If both obser 
vations are correct, then we need no proof that the man 
of the minor premise is rational because it is self-evident. 
Logic is often a convenient method of seeing, but it is 


never a proof. Even in mathematics we do not prove, 
we see. Not a single proposition in mathematics is 
proved; its truth is only perceived. The so-called proof 
is but a method of separating the elements of a condensed 
proposition so that these elements, one by one, may be rec 
ognized. The certainty began with one or more axioms, 
and proceeded with rules built upon observation, and the 
certainty at every step to the finish rested on something 
self-evident. A prominent man assured me that he could 
prove that two and two were four. However, the first 
thing I learned in Geometry was that an axiom was too 
self-evident to be capable of proof. The highly complex 
methods which we have devised for reducing intricate 
mathematical statements of their axiomatic verities we 
call proof, but the term proof can only be used in this 
accommodated sense, for fundamentally we have proved 
nothing; we have simply increased our intelligence by 
using a speedy and ingenious method of looking. When 
it is said that one does not know how to prove a propo 
sition, it only means that he does not know how to sep 
arate and arrange the elements in such a manner that 
the mind can see them. Fundamentally, nothing in the 
world is proved. When we clearly see, doubt flees and 
certainty comes. If in anything a person insists that he 
can not see, all we can do is to ask him to look again; 
or perhaps we may try holding the truth at different 
angles, or we may present its elements in some new order. 
If, however, nothing enables him to see, then in respect 
to that particular thing he is damned. I had a very in- 


telligent friend who was dismissed from an important 
position because he was color-blind. 

While some have much stronger religious intuitions 
than others, yet I think there is no normal person who 
may not, if he goes about it in the right way, achieve 
religious insight. It takes a great deal of maneuvering 
to get some people to see mathematics. And the average 
sceptic has not put forth the effort to see religious truth 
that the average pupil has to see mathematical truth. 
But I know sceptics who have put forth such effort, and 
they have succeeded. When a sceptic wins a faith, in the 
nature of the case it is vital. Saving faith in religion, as 
in everything else, is the feeling of certainty that follows 
clear insight. And clear insight into any subject depends 
upon intelligent study and faithful practice. While there 
are many things that we positively know, and many more 
that we may come to know, yet it is through rational ex 
perience, and not so-called proof, that we come to know 

As hungry cannibals feed upon the body of a civilized 
man with never a thought that his trained mind would 
be worth more to them than his body, so multitudes feed 
upon the body of the universe with no thought of what 
its animating Will might be to them. To all who sustain 
such an attitude toward the universe, its body looms large 
while its Soul fades. As the cannibal missed the wealth 
and civilization which the larger mind of his victim could 
have brought, so the mere world-consumers miss that 
which the Soul of the universe could abundantly give. If 


it were divinely conceived of and divinely used, the phys 
ical universe and the social relations therein would be in 
finitely enriched. But when the Soul of the universe is 
lost, and the body of the universe is narrowed down to 
the temporal uses of the materialistic mind, we have lost 
the best part of reality. 

But if we know what God and the world are to-day, 
we have a solid basis for knowing what they will be 
to-morrow. The future is not a new life and a new uni 
verse and a new God, but the present life and the present 
universe and the present God to-morrow. The remedy 
for a hazy future is a luminous present. Since God 
carries all men, good and bad, in His bosom, what a pity 
it is that we allow sloth and selfishness to deprive us of 
His acquaintance and fellowship. A little play-fellow 
once refused to speak to me in the presence of his newly 
arrived cousin. Finally he said to his cousin with a sneer, 
" Dick spoke to me three times, and I never let on that 
I heard him." This cut me deeply. But I now confess 
with sorrow and shame that the God who carries me in 
His own life has spoken a thousand times to me when I 
never let on that I heard Him. I have often tried to 
forget Him that I might enjoy pleasures of which He 
could not approve. All souls are in touch with God, and 
in that sense know Him, even when they do not recog 
nize who or what it is that touches them ; they are like the 
fishes that know the water but can not find the sea. 

At last it has come to this : I have simply learned to 
see the universe that enfolds me, as the present energy 


of an intelligent Will. I see that Will coming to human 
expression in me, in my Christian friends, and in a social 
kingdom of infinite possibilities. That which I see 
works, and coordinates with all that I know, making me 
more glad and more strong as the years go by. God 
seems to live in me and about me and through me. That 
in which I live and from which I cannot escape for a 
single moment of my existence, I do not try to prove. 
My task is to see it more intelligently and to adjust my 
self to it more perfectly. I can testify that the more I 
learn and the better I live the more clearly do I see that 
that in which I live has sense as well as chemical ener 
gies ; and that its deeper meaning and purpose may get to 
the surface through my life. I no longer live in a dirt 
world, but in a mind world. I believe neither in a muck 
world, nor in a ghost-God who is somewhere in hiding. 
My universe has come to be a Will in action, a Will that 
enfolds me with its energies and does not let me go. 
When the universe is otherwise conceived I do not like it. 
My intellect and instincts rebel against a universe mate 
rially conceived and materially explained. It is too 
twisted and dwarfed for all the facts. I am rationally 
convinced that I see a larger and better world. 

To me, worship is the deeper penetration into that Will 
in whose enfolding energies I live and move and have 
my being. My world has become an oratorio with both 
peaceful and dramatic passages. I get nerve thrills from 
its music ; and more, since its text is written in plain Eng 
lish, and not in an unknown tongue, I see the majestic 


pageant of a well-ordered creation. I understand what 
the music is about, and experience a joy infinitely beyond 
what I should if the music were without words. And 
though I meet some severe hardships, yet I am convinced 
that this is the best conceivable world in which to begin 
a life that is to live forever. History helps me, science 
helps me; and I feel myself borne along by a union of 
forces toward a glorious goal. God becomes more and 
more articulate in me and in all men and in all nature 
as we learn to will His will and to use nature s forces 
as the instruments of our enlightened and purified spirits. 
I also find that this vision will not leave me unless I live 
beneath my best. If, therefore, my best life and best 
vision go together, it would be folly to do anything that 
would break the harmony. 

Some may say, " this is nothing but the way you see 
things, why not give us something more? " No one has 
anything to give beyond what he sees, unless he gives what 
some one else has seen ; and that is entirely uncalled for 
if he can not tell it better than the other man has done. 
The only justification for the appearance of another book 
is that the author thinks his vision is sufficiently like what 
others see, and at the same time enough different to make 
it useful. " But I can t see it your way," some reader 
may retort. Well, I am sorry. Obviously, if we are 
sincere, it is for us to go on living and preaching the 
gospel with the hope that some day he may come to see. 
The Master Himself was shut up within the same cir 
cumscribed method. However, my contention is that if 


we have " pure hearts," and are not unnecessarily con 
fused in thought, or possessed of erroneous thoughts, we 
know God here and now. This is the luminous present 
that clarifies the hazy future. Not all men know God, 
but in my opinion all may know Him if they go about it 
in the right way. Every human being, consciously or 
unconsciously, must submit to having his life moulded by 
a world with a God or by a world without a God, and 
the finished life will be as different as the two worlds. 

3. The final step in the effort to know God 

To know God and to win the hope of immortality one 
must do more than formulate a set of correct ideas. 
Correct ideas will greatly aid, yet alone they are utterly 
inadequate. When the scientist gets his idea, he proceeds 
to experiment with it. If he does not at first get the 
hoped-for results, when the idea is clear and impelling, 
he performs his experiments over and over again in the 
most painstaking manner. In religion, however, many 
will never go beyond the idea. They wish to have the 
idea fully established without experiment or application. 
The reason for this difference is that, in religion, the ex 
periment can not be made on carbon and zinc, but it must 
be made on the man s own soul. The experiment cuts 
right into his moral, emotional, and sentimental nature. 
How often a man will admit, " I can see no flaw in your 
idea, but I am not convinced that you are right." When 
the scientist gets his idea, whether it is true or not, he 


acts as if it were true until he has tried his experiments, 
and does not always abandon the idea when his tests fail ; 
he realizes that the fault may have been in the experiment. 
Many of the greatest facts in science have long been 
baffled by faulty experiments. Like consequences occur 
in religion. If instead of going on to the experiment 
and application one keeps repeating forever the question, 
" I wonder if the idea is true," he will never get any 
where except into a deeper state of doubt. A wise per 
son while putting his best idea to the test will say, " I am 
hopeful that it will turn out favorably because it is such 
an attractive, promising idea/ Religious ideas must be 
planted in the soul as seeds are put into the ground, and 
allowed to remain undisturbed long enough to germinate. 
It is most fortunate when children, through experimental 
knowledge, have been taught to love good types of reli 
gion and music ; and this while they are receptive, and be 
fore they are ensnared by a thousand other influences. 
Yet no one, at any age, dare neglect his religious duties 
and privileges if he wishes religion to be an impelling 
power in his soul. In my youth, mathematics was a great 
inspiration to me, but through neglect my mathematical 
lamp burns low. To keep mathematics interesting and 
alive one must work problems applied to constructive 

For an example of a man who attained unto great re 
ligious certainty, take Paul. He experienced a radical 
revision of his religious ideas, but his improved ideas 
were not enough. To test their validity he hurled himself 


upon the Christian verities with all the force of his be 
ing; and in consequence, found a life of intimate friend 
ship with God. Thenceforward Paul had great things 
to tell and magnificent things to achieve. " I can do all 
things in Him that strengthened me." He felt that noth 
ing could break this new bond. " For I am persuaded, 
that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, 
nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor 
height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to 
separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ 
Jesus our Lord." His friendship with God gave him a 
new conception of, as well as a new interest in, society. 
" So we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and 
severally members one of another." God the Father " Is 
over all, and through all, and in all." Paul s insight 
broke all former bounds; it elevated him to a boundless 
and timeless world; his insight gave him a deep sense of 
God and became the evidence of many things not yet 
achieved. Here was personal assurance of God and im 
mortality deep, strong, and jubilant. Whence came it? 
Such assurance is inherent in a life spiritually nourished 
and divinely employed. Hope simply comes to such a 
soul, like color to the ripening apple. 

This generation, though engaged in many noble char 
ities, shows marked signs of under-nourishment ; its mind 
is active in the acquisition of material knowledge, and its 
body is overworked in the effort to accumulate wealth, 
yet its soul languishes. And there is a near likeness be 
tween a starved soul and a starved body. 


Without hope or courage, a little girl sits staring out 
of great innocent eyes because she is under-nourished. 
This poor fading flower is in striking contrast with the 
little apple-cheeked girl in bloomers who believeth all 
things and hopeth all things and (as her brother knows) 
can do pretty much all things. This startling difference 
requires no lengthy explanation; nourishment and ex 
ercise tell the whole story. 

So in our day many languid souls ask, " Where is thy 
God, and who knows whether there is a life beyond ? " 

For an instructive contrast, place beside such a life the 
life of Jesus. Living in the bosom of the Father, doing 
the Father s will day by day, seeing life in the light of 
divine love, and witnessing the effect upon those whom 
he won to a life of love and service, made it impossible 
for Jesus to lose faith in immortality. While enduring 
the pain of the cross He could say to the malefactor, 
" To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise." 

The abundant, buoyant life nourished in the life of 
God and exercised in the service of God and man, is the 
source of hope for the life that is yet to be. 

4. Conscious of the existence of God, we become certain 
of immortality 

It is clear as daylight that God Himself will be defeated 
if He loses His family. Attention has already been called 
to the fact that, with the loss of His family, God would 
be reduced to a child-god playing with a toy world ; and 


that without the cooperation of other wills He could not 
finish His toy. He would be in the position of having 
a world full of raw material, material capable of infinite, 
spiritual and social uses, only He would be destitute of 
any such help as would enable Him to turn the universe 
to any account whatsoever. If He were left solitary in 
the world, all God s labors in creation would lead directly 
to shameful defeat. Without other inhabitants than 
Himself, the universe would become one colossal piece 
of junk. Yes, it would be worse than that; even junk 
has value where there are people. Without intelligent 
souls to inhabit the universe, an appalling night would 
settle over all creation. Love, truth, wisdom, righteous 
ness, and the last semblance of a kingdom would be gone; 
and God Himself would as well die with His children; 
He would be destitute of character, and incapable of 
completing that which He began on such a magnificent 
scale. Having a universe like the present on Hfs hands, 
with no one to use it, nor to inhabit it, God would be an 
object worthy of ridicule. The idea that God could mur 
der His children, or carelessly allow them to perish, and 
then spend an eternity in an unfinished and depopulated 
world shatters reason itself; such a thought is too appall 
ing and abhorrent to be entertained for a moment. Just 
as sure as there is a God, we shall continue to live. Any 
one who believes in God and does not believe in im 
mortality surely never gave two consecutive logical 
thoughts to the subject, (i) Ultimately God will have 
no children at all, (2) or He will have an endless sue- 


cession of short-lived children, (3) or He will have chil 
dren that survive all changes. 

The first obnoxious idea we regard as impossible and 
unthinkable. A being that could live in perpetual and 
absolute solitude, with no more reason and character than 
such a position would warrant, is not a person that we 
should call God anyway. 

The second thought of God having an endless succes 
sion of short-lived children is in some respects worse. 

In the autumn of nineteen hundred and fourteen, a 
friend said to me : 

" What is there, I should like to know, in Christianity ? 
Here we ve had the Christian religion for more than 
nineteen hundred years and now this war. Oh, there 
is nothing in it ! " 

" No," I answered, " we have had Christianity about 
thirty-three years; that is, a few people have had it." 

When asked what I meant by such a statement, I told 
her that the earth was inhabited only by children ; that the 
average age of all living people was only about thirty- 
three years ; and that they would scarcely get beyond the 
spanking period until their places would be taken by an 
other set of babies; and that these new babies would 
scratch and bite, and be tempted to lie and steal just as 
all the babies before them had done; and that these in 
turn would soon give way to another set of babies. I 
told her that all the knowledge and character on earth 
would, in a few days, need to be transferred to the minds 
of babies not yet born, or it would entirely disappear from 


the earth. " Moreover," I said, " how do you know 
what Christianity has accomplished? You have never 
been where the Christians have gone? What do you 
suppose the Apostles and all the Christians who are nine 
teen hundred years old have been doing; and the multi 
tudes who are eighteen hundred years old, and so on down 
through all the centuries ? You have seen only a succes 
sion of kindergarten classes." 

Though progress on earth rests exclusively upon suc 
cessive groups of children, yet we gladly recognize the 
social achievements that have been made during human 
history. We keenly realize also the sin we all share in 
not having produced better social conditions than now 
exist. Nevertheless, I am absolutely certain that no suc 
cession of infants will ever be able to put this universe to 
its highest possible uses. God will never get far with 
His great cosmic enterprise if He employs only ignorant 
little children; and that is clearly what He is doing if 
death ends all. What a pity and shame it would be to 
throw away such a universe ; a universe of infinite intel 
lectual, spiritual, and social possibilities. And what a 
crime it would be to destroy the intelligent beings who 
could turn the universe to full account if only they were 
allowed ample time. That God will not do anything so 
foolish and wicked we may safely rest assured. 

At the close of one of my services a man came forward 
and spoke to me, saying : 

" If everybody were good, your job would be done." 

" Now I must scrap with you," I said. " If all were 


good, I should have a larger and a better job. The good 
people, and not the bad people, have the greatest desire 
for Church. Why is the engine put on the track at all 
unless it is to go somewhere? For what purpose does 
anyone become a Christian, except to learn more about 
God and His plans in order that he may embody them in 
a kingdom of love and righteousness? I am too young 
and ignorant to preach you a very good sermon now, but 
if you will come around where I am a thousand years 
from now, I will preach you a sermon that will make you 
sit up and take notice." Something must be left out of 
the mental structure of one who can make such a state 
ment as this man made to me. In the face of such con 
ceptions of life one wonders that religion commands the 
respect that it does. 

There is no doubt concerning the unlimited possibilities 
of the universe, nor of the limitless possibilities of the 
human spirit if it is given a chance. Standing as many of 
us do on the threshold of these greater possibilities, who 
but a devil could shut the door in our faces? If God 
wanted us when we were ignorant and sinful, He wants 
us even more now that we are a little wiser and a little 
better. If He intended to crush us before we were fairly 
started why did He ever raise us to such hope by allow 
ing us to see the infinite possibilities? 

As to our ability to survive the shock of physical death, 
if God made us live in the first place, He can make us 
live on through all changes. If, however, God alone sur 
vives He will be quite worse off than His dead children; 


they will simply be extinct, while He will go to the 
gloomiest sort of hell. Who could wish to be a mad god 
living alone through eternity in a graveyard? With 
everybody dead, and all kingdoms gone, and all work at 
an end, the universe would be one vast desolate hell ; 
such as a bad God would deserve. How can any one be 
lieve in God and not believe in immortality ? 



i . How can one live as he should ? 

Some say, " What difference does it make whether 
we believe in immortality, if we live as we should in this 

We also would ask a question. How can one live as 
he should if he eliminates God and His plans? God 
planned a " whole " or He planned nothing. 

We willingly admit that some honest doubters have a 
larger share in God s life than they realize. They have 
heard the message of truth and love, and though con 
fused as to its origin, they accept much of it as binding 
upon their lives. In many things they conscientiously do 
God s will without recognizing it as such. No one is so 
bad but that he sometimes obeys God. The meanest man 
thinks some of God s thoughts after Him, and makes 
some voluntary sacrifices. It may never occur to him, 
however, that God has any part in the matter. Yet no 
one lives as he should until he lives the highest type of 
life of which he is capable. It is easily possible to be 



doing good in one direction while exerting a baneful in 
fluence in another direction; and easier still to be over 
looking something of grave importance. Many well- 
meaning persons pursue courses of action that work 
great harm to themselves and to others in the long run. 
No one should flatter himself with the thought that he has 
lived as well as he should, until he has lived as well as he 
could. No man on the outside of a business can do what 
he would if he were on the inside. A really good man 
must try to know God and the plans of His kingdom from 
within; he must take daily orders; he should be strictly 
honest toward God; he should feel the joy and enthusiasm 
that come from partnership with God in a great enter 
prise. But this type of good man will most likely feel 
sure of immortality. A lack of assurance is a practical 
proof that something has gone wrong in the life; it may 
be confusion or indifference, but more likely it is both. 

2. The difference in social service 

Unless we know what the superstructure is to be, it is 
impossible to lay the right kind of a foundation. A good 
foundation for a bungalow would not answer for a fifty- 
story skyscraper. And to put a skyscraper foundation 
under a bungalow would be the most foolish waste of 
time and money. Paul gave up everything that the aver 
age good citizen holds dear, and spent his entire life in 
laying the nobler foundation. He believed that the 
superstructure would be stupendous, and of eternal dura- 


tion. No sane person would live the life Paul lived un 
less he believed in immortality. The same is true of Jesus. 
Here is a clear-cut and portentous cleavage between good 
people who are Christians and good people who are not 
Christians. I do not mean to intimate that a patriotic 
agnostic would be any more reluctant than a believer to 
die for his country. It is largely a question of what he 
considers is worth while. A good sceptic is willing to 
help educate and civilize in a general way, but he will 
put forth no effort to evangelize. He does not realize the 
impossibility of civilizing a non-religious world. He 
would permit the whole race to be non-religious like 
himself. He would send all the billions yet to be born 
into the future life without any knowledge of God or 
any spiritual achievement. His attitude would so over- 
populate the future country with dwarfed and degraded 
people that our missionary work in a future state, if we 
are permitted to undertake it, would stagger a St. Paul. 
When we see the number and quality of our neighbors over 
there we shall realize the enormity of our mistake. And 
still they will come, the uncivilized and unchristianized 
descendants of ancestors whom we neglected. Almost 
every civilized community in the Christian world had its 
foundations laid by missionary effort; and it has been 
kept civilized by a work very similar to that of missions. 
The firmest ground of hope for the civilization of the 
race is in the combined educational and religious work of 
missions. Darkness cannot come to the light, but light 
may go to the darkness. The longer missionary work is 


neglected the more of it will there be to do; and that 
which we leave undone here will be accumulating for us 
over there. With what amazement non-missionary 
Christians will face their accumulated missionary task, 
in the future life! It is my impression that fifty per 
cent of the Church members do not believe in missions; 
that is to say, they do not believe in extending the reli 
gion of Jesus if it involves any work or expense for them. 
They themselves will first need to be saved, if they are 
to be like their Master and share any of His vision and 
compassion. Then there is probably another twenty-five 
per cent of professing Christians who believe but little 
in the extension of the gospel. So between the agnos 
tics and the half -Christians, we are not doing a very 
good piece of social work throughout the world. And 
this is true whether we have in mind the future history 
of society on earth, or of society as it shall migrate to our 
future home. Whether or not we have Christian as 
surance of God and the future life makes a tremendous 
social difference both for this life and for the life to 
come. Unless we are active and aggressive in the work 
of extending the kingdom, every form of vice will thrive 
and multiply in our most cultivated and civilized com 
munities. What hope then is there for benighted peoples 
where there is neither salt nor leaven? My experience 
of thirty years in the ministry convinces me that those 
who have their eyes on the whole earth, do several times 
as much work for their home communities as do those 
who believe exclusively in home missions. It is aston- 


ishing what narrow service so-called broad-minded peo 
ple can render, and what wide achievements can be ac 
complished by so-called narrow-minded people. Obser 
vation will show that it makes a vast difference in the 
kind and extent of social service rendered if one believes 
in God and immortality. 

3. The difference in personal preparation 

We tell our young people entering high school that 
they should decide at the outset whether they are going to 
college; and if possible which college, as the entrance 
requirements of colleges differ. What should we think 
of one who would ask, " Why need I bother my mind 
about a possible college course in the future if I keep 
busy and learn something well? What difference can 
it make? " Yet we grow weary with hearing the ques 
tion, " What difference does it make whether there is a 
future existence if we live as we should in this life?" 
Do they suppose that it is easier to make the freshman 
class in heaven than it is to make the freshman class in 
college? I dare say the requirements are different, but 
if heaven is worth going to the requirements can hardly 
be less specific or exacting. Many people who never 
went to college are far advanced in things pertaining to 
God and His kingdom, while some college people do not 
know the a, b, c of religion. Their standing in a future 
life cannot possibly be the same. 

Like many others, I was brought up to be honest and 


hard-working from the beginning. According to ordinary 
standards, I was living as I should. Yet when I heard 
of college, and had hopes of going to one, a subtle change 
came over my whole life. While the old duties were per 
formed in the old way, at the same time a complete revolu 
tion was taking place within me. The imagination and 
will readjusted everything to the new and larger sphere 
for which I hoped. Since no one thus far had gone to 
college from our frontier community, some of the neigh 
bors thought me to be a foolish dreamer. What good 
would it do me anyway, was what they wanted to know, 
since I was already good in " riggers " ? When I was 
probably fourteen years old, a young man told me of 
some one in another township who was going to study 
Algebra. " What is that? " I asked. " Well," .he said, 
" it is something like Arithmetic, only they use letters 
instead of figures." " Now that," I promptly told him, 
"sounds foolish. Why aren t figures good enough?" 
" Ah," said the young man s father, " Algebra is a mighty 
fine study! You have noticed that merchants mark the 
price of their goods with letters. Now if you know 
Algebra they can t cheat you." So I made up my mind 
then and there that I would study Algebra. 

My first experience with college catalogues, which 
came a little later, was both interesting and amusing. I 
had often wondered what there could possibly be to study 
beyond history, geography, and the three " R s." But at 
last with a college catalogue in my hands here it was: 
De Amicitia, De Corona, Trigonometry, etc. After 


reading pages of unheard-of and unpronounceable 
words, I scarcely knew whether it was about something 
to eat or something to wear. Theological terms seemed 
plain English by comparison. In those primitive days it 
took one more year of preparation to enter the classical 
course than it did the scientific. For that reason alone I 
promptly decided to take the classical. Although I knew 
nothing of what either course was really about or what 
it was good for, yet I did not want to bear the stigma 
of any short cut. I wanted to learn it " all." 

Though it did not take long to learn what the college 
course was about, yet it did take some good faithful ap 
plication to prepare for entrance examinations. 

Many people take their religion as some lazy boys 
found in every high school take their education. 
These boys have a very light regard for college require 
ments. John is certain that he is as good a student as 
Charles or a half dozen other fellows. He emphasizes 
the fact that a " grind " like James is the most unpopu 
lar fellow in school. All suggestions of future trouble 
fall on deaf ears. Every year train loads of these fel 
lows go to take their entrance " exams." Yes, they ar 
rive at heaven, or college, and may chance to see the lord 
of the institution. But some one calls them in to test 
their Latin eyesight, and another to determine their 
mathematical vision, and if their power of penetration is 
not sufficient for college subjects, back they go. This is 
a tragic experience for the lads, to be sure, yet they must 
learn that promotion means fitness. I have known of 


young men entering the academy of the college town be 
cause they were ashamed to go back home. They were 
good fellows, but they lacked college fitness. Think of 
a good sensible fellow who has never studied arithmetic 
going to college ! And then think of a good sort of per 
son going to heaven who has never acquired the spiritual 
insight to know God! A man in college who is mathe 
matically blind, and a man in heaven who is God blind ! 
If one thinks of God as a visible Ghost in heaven, he will 
overlook many of the essentials until the pitiful disillu 
sionment comes. And if he thinks of the future home as 
a doll s heaven, he will make no thorough preparation for 
entrance. When a young girl was once lured to a very 
superstitious church, a friend said to me : 

" Well, what difference does it make we are all go 
ing to the same place." But when I asked her if she 
would be willing to send her daughter to a poor day 
school or to some wretched music teacher, she had never 
thought but what that was different. Everything but 
religion must be properly taught ; how that is taught does 
not matter, " because we all are going to the same place." 
On that basis, if all were going to live in New York 
City, I suppose it would make no difference what kind of 
superstition they were taught. The expectation of join 
ing a higher and holier society after this life cuts as 
deeply into my present life plans and purposes as did the 
expectation of going to college when I was a frontier lad. 
No matter how upright and industrious one is in the 
ordinary affairs of life, take away the hope of college 


or the hope of a future life, and it makes a difference 
at a thousand vital points. 

I once intercepted a stone mason who was building a 
wall where the specifications called for a window. He 
was not at all inclined to be convinced of his error. After 
reading the specifications again he said, " I am right." 
" But," I replied, " you are confused as to directions." 
Then he appealed to a weather vane on a near-by steeple. 
When I informed him that the church had been moved 
and that the points of the compass were entirely wrong, 
he pulled down the wall that he had so perfectly built. 
He did not ask what difference it made so long as he was 
doing a good piece of masonry. He was glad to get the 
wall down before the superintendent saw it. 

If, now, we go on the assumption that God has no 
plans in what He is building, then we must conclude that 
He is the most ridiculous person that ever went into the 
construction business. The shock of disillusionment 
when it comes, as it is bound to do, will be tremendous. 

It is one of my greatest sorrows that so many of my 
friends are building solid masonry in their lives where 
God s specifications call for windows; and windows 
where there should be solid masonry. The windows in 
the life of Jesus all looked out on the side of love and 
eternity. The light of a heavenly kingdom was always 
streaming into His soul. 

We make the same mistake in building our cities and 
social institutions. They but vaguely represent the hu 
man temple called for in God s specifications. And the 


farther we depart from the plan the more difficult it will 
be to return to it. Paul told some of the people of his 
day that they might escape with their lives as from a 
burning building, but that what they had built contrary 
to the divine pattern would be reduced to ashes. 

I once knew a merchant who had twenty acres of new 
land broken and planted with onion sets. A temporary 
house was built to care for a dozen or more workmen. 
The ground was pulverized to ashes, the onions were 
planted, and the weeds were kept down so that none ever 
appeared from the road. It was a fine piece of work. 
The men toiled, the onions grew and finally blossomed, 
and the field presented an attractive sight. But alas ! 
the merchant had purchased winter-onion sets, and in 
all that field there was not one bulb to reward him for 
his pains. What difference did it make he and his men 
surely did some good work? 

Many there are who flourish like that field during the 
days of their strength ; but when they ripen there is no 
bulb, nothing to garner. One of these men with the 
meaning of life exhausted at sixty remarked to me that 
one was too old when he had passed forty. 

A short time before his death Washington Gladden was 
a guest in my home. As he sat in an easy chair after 
dinner speaking of other days, and especially as he spoke 
of his sainted wife, I noticed how old he had grown. 
Though his body had about run its course, yet the light 
of his soul had not been dimmed. In my heart I said, 
" What a dear old man you are, Dr. Gladden. You are 


nearly all soul ! " He had kept the faith. And it had 
made a difference; for him, for me, and for all the 
world. While the old man sat there and conversed with 
the family, the light of his soul sent a shining ray 
" Far down the future s broadening way." 



i. Its relation to the present constitution of things 

Granting that there is a future existence, are we not 
wholly in the dark as to what it is like? Is it possible 
to form any conception of heaven that is not offensive 
to the intelligent mind? Professor Leuba says: 

" As soon as, no longer satisfied with a general as 
surance of unruffled peace and unalloyed enjoyment, we 
demand specifications, we find ourselves in the presence 
of ideas and pictures, either absurd or repulsive, or void 
of real attractiveness. The best gifted religious seers 
succeed in this descriptive task no better than the clever 
est mediums." 

Have we, then, no facts on which to build a rational 
conception of the future state? 

I believe that a satisfying view is a possible achieve 
ment, because we have some very important and funda 
mental facts from which to construct a picture. The 
minor details, of course, are unknown to us, but the main 
outline, which principally matters, may be very clearly 
conceived. As we have previously shown, the future does 
not have to do with a new God and a new universe and 


a new soul ; but with the present God, the present universe, 
and the present soul to-morrow. The future is not some 
new thing; it is the old realities a little later, and a little 
more fully developed. That God will remain a stable 
factor in the equation, we may rest assured. And we 
can read nature well enough in this scientific age to under 
stand that it is no sudden and fickle movement void of 
law and order. Neither are we entirely ignorant of our 
own rational souls that organize themselves into civilized 
communities by combining and giving shape to the forces 
of nature in which we live. We have plainly seen that 
neither God, nature, nor man has any worth or signifi 
cance when separated from each other. In the future 
life, therefore, there is but one factor that is different 
from those found in the present constitution of things, 
and that is the loss of the present human body. And 
even this difference between the present and the future 
will be largely rectified, according to the Scriptures, by 
our receiving new bodies. For too long we have fool 
ishly tried to show that the soul could live without a 
body ; and this in the face of the Scriptural teaching, that 
God will give us new bodies. In our effort to show that 
the soul is able to live independent of a body, we have 
likewise run counter to experimental psychology and 
philosophy. Scriptures say we shall have new bodies. 
Psychology shows that the souls with which we are ac 
quainted are dependent upon the body for consciousness 
and every intellectual achievement. Philosophy likewise 
teaches that man can not exist outside of God. There- 


fore when these bodies with which God now enfolds us 
die, He must again enfold us or we shall perish. There 
is no reason for thinking that a soul can live if discon 
nected from God, and the universe of God, in which it 
lives. If God again enfolds a soul, that new enfold- 
ment will be its new body. And it will not be a spirit 
body because that is a contradiction of terms. As the 
Scriptures teach, it will be a spiritual body ; that is, it will 
be a highly refined and delicate instrument of the spirit 
yet a real body. This new body, as was the case with 
the old, must be our first point of contact with the uni 
verse of God. And in the future life, as here, the whole 
universe will be our augmented body as we progressively 
become articulated with it. 

So all the old conditions of the present life will be re 
stored on a higher plane. Whether the new and refined 
body will closely resemble the old, is a matter of specula 
tion. However, it must be the instrument of the spirit; 
and therefore it will have functions similar to the higher 
intellectual and spiritual uses of our present body. We 
shall be conscious in it and think with it, and through 
it we shall manipulate the forces of the universe. If 
we can keep well, and work without friction, and all pull 
together I see no reason why we should not accomplish 
marvelous things in this universe, and at the same time 
derive a very dignified satisfaction from it all. 

However much advanced the new life may be, we shall 
still be the same persons living in the same God and in 
the same universe as now. We shall still be living for 


the same social and righteous ideals as now, and our 
motive will be the same old motive of love and good will. 
God is not a naked spirit hiding behind nature. He is a 
Loving Intelligent Will revealing Himself by His out 
going energies which we call nature. In the future life, 
the same as here, God will be trying to come to the sur 
face through the bodies which he provides for Himself 
and His children. And He will be striving, likewise, for 
a full expression of Himself through all the institutions 
that His children will be organizing out of His beauti 
ful and boundless energies. 

Nature is not the gross, crude thing that ignorant peo 
ple take it to be. Neither is it something apart from God. 
With the little intelligence that a few have acquired on 
this kindergarten earth, we begin to see what a divine 
thing nature is. When it is better known and more wisely 
and lovingly used by God s children, all nature will be 
vocal with God s wisdom and love. 

2. Where is heaven? 

Heaven is some place, or many places, in our present 
universe. God will never leave His beautiful universe 
that is so infinite in its complexness, so vast in its dimen 
sions, and so rich in its millenniums of development, and 
go off into nothingness to build some sort of mystical and 
ethereal heaven. Heaven will be as much a part of the 
universe as is this earth. And this earth is infinitely 
closer in its relation to the whole than we are now able to 


comprehend. Almost daily, scientists are discovering 
new bonds between the earth and the rest of the universe. 
The inhabitants of heaven will not be less closely con 
nected, but much more vitally and intelligently related to 
nature than are we. 

There are doubtless many spheres in this universe that 
would make good sites for a heaven. And it would be 
interesting to know how many of them are already so 
utilized. " In my Father s house are many mansions." 
When we speak of mansions in the skies it would be well 
to remember that the earth is a pretty good mansion in 
the skies. The trouble is, being such poor Christians, 
we have not built upon it a very good heaven. While 
we have not been wholly recreant in building a heaven 
on earth, yet we have often cursed this mansion by con 
structing many hells of smaller or larger proportions. 

Another reason for believing that God does not plan 
for a heaven outside the objective universe, is the deep 
desire of man to make his richest ideals tangible and ob 
jective in a book, a piece of art, a musical composition, a 
noble building, or some splendid institution. Life with 
out expression and achievement, as we know it, is both 
unsatisfactory and dangerous. The same must be true 
in relation to God, as evidenced by His vast and beautiful 
works that have come forth unfolding out of the infinite 
past and now promise to expand and differentiate into 
the infinite future. Even in the sphere of human lives 
He has impelled men to express His wisdom, beauty, and 
purpose according to human modes of expression. 


It evidently is not God s design to abandon His works 
of nature and draw back into His own thoughts and 
spend eternity in self-contemplation. He rather intends 
to utilize the unlimited capacity of nature, and the un 
bounded ability of His children, to give the fullest pos 
sible expression both of His children and of Himself in 
a kingdom which has form as well as soul. 

In Chapter III I gave a description of the kingdom of 
God on earth. I shall now repeat that statement as an 
equally good description of the kingdom of God in 
heaven : 

" The kingdom of God is a loving intelligent family, 
organized around the Father s good will, living in the 
universe as His home, using the forces of nature as the 
instruments of His will, and making all things vocal with 
His wisdom, love, and power." 

So little has the kingdom of God been realized on earth 
that it is like a kingdom on paper in comparison with 
what has doubtless been realized elsewhere in the universe. 

3. Will there be a Holy City? 

There will doubtless be many holy cities and plenty of 
country too. The Holy City described in the book of 
Revelation was, in the thought of the writer, to be located 
on earth. While it should be our aim to build an ideal 
city on earth, yet like most of our aims it will probably 
fall short. If in some respects the City of Revelation 
does not appear to be the most desirable kind of place 


in which to live, nevertheless, as a thing of symmetry 
and beauty it is a marvelous picture. A perfect city 
is a wonderfully attractive thought; and none the less 
so because one enjoys a vacation in the country. If there 
is no ideal city in this universe, there should be. New 
York, London, and Paris, in spite of the ugliness, 
squalor, crime, and disease which they contain, are very 
fascinating. They bring together so much knowledge, 
wealth, and power that one feels the mighty impact of it 
all upon his soul. If one lives under the most favorable 
conditions in a great city, his consciousness so blends 
with the whole that the city seems to be but his larger 
self. This is simply the fuller experience of that law 
of consciousness which makes a man feel larger when 
he puts on a fur coat, or taller when he wears a silk hat, 
and causes a woman to feel like her silks and plumes and 
fluffy garments. A city without crime, disease, poverty, 
or ugliness ; a Holy City filled with art, music, knowledge, 
love, and every kind of fascinating employment; such a 
city would lift one into a sense of joy and greatness be 
yond words to express. 

From our present meager knowledge of the universe, 
what kind of a city would be possible if all the laws and 
resources of nature were fully utilized? Considering, 
then, the millions of people who have grown rich in wis 
dom and character through millenniums of experience in 
the congenial company of their fellow citizens of a 
heavenly kingdom, what is it reasonable to suppose they 
have done in the way of realizing these possibilities? 


Even with our limited knowledge of nature s resources, 
we know they could have built a city that would make the 
one pictured in Revelation look like a beautiful Christ 
mas toy. And if the departed are living in our universe 
and not in a vacuum, what could have prevented them 
from achieving such a glorious result? 

" For thee, O dear, dear country, 
Mine eyes their vigil keep." 

Every one is justified in viewing his life in the light 
of this larger perspective. For by so doing he not only 
prepares himself for better citizenship in the life beyond, 
but at the same time accomplishes a larger and better 
piece of work on earth. When we break our lives and 
the universe up into fragments, as so many do, we are 
like children playing with broken pieces of china. For 
each of us there is one life, in one universe, under one 
leader. Beginning in weakness, life grows into strength; 
beginning in ignorance, it develops into wisdom ; begin 
ning in selfishness, life expands into a kingdom of love 
and righteousness. At first we are submerged in the ma 
terial ; but finally we discover that the material is of spirit 
ual origin, and that it can be turned to spiritual ends. 
Like true artists, we no longer scorn the material forces, 
but see in them all the latent image of the divine. 
Whether the image that finally appears shall be a devil 
or a God will depend upon the hands that shape the 


4. Will there be music ? 

Though we may laugh at Mark Twain s caricature of 
the saint with his golden harp, yet music is not to be 
laughed out of this universe. There will be music, of 
course ; though heaven will not run all to music, yet there 
will be plenty of it and it will be of the right quality. 

We know perfectly well that this vibrant universe has 
unlimited musical possibilities, and that we have scarcely 
begun to utilize these possibilities either in the way of 
music or instruments. With the instruments improved 
a thousand fold and multiplied a million fold, they would 
call for such noble music as has never yet been written. 
With the technique possible to more highly refined bodies, 
with time to outgrow all amateur execution, with the 
leadership of all the musical geniuses of the ages, and with 
an unlimited number of voices and performers to select 
from, the music of a heavenly city should surpass our 
wildest dreams. And there is no sensible reason for 
thinking that there would be music without sound or that 
there would be musicians without instruments. We have 
no right to think well of God, and at the same time think 
ill of His forces with which He enfolds us. 

5. Shall we meet our loved ones ? 

I see no difficulty in the way of meeting our loved ones 
in a future state. Of course, I could not abide perma- 


nently with my parents, and they with theirs, and so on 
clear back to Adam. The great population would, of 
necessity, be scattered over a wide area. After reaching 
maturity we do not, as a rule, live with our parents here 
on earth. The connection is kept up by the different 
modes of communication and by an occasional visit. 
And though the distances there would, doubtless, be much 
greater than here, yet the means of communication and of 
travel would much more than rectify the difference in 
distance. In heaven, as here, we should probably have 
some friends near by and others remote from us. How 
ever, we have already overcome space to a marvelous de 
gree on earth; and have scarcely commenced to use the 
resources of which we are aware. We not only have 
the omnipresent mail system, the telegraph, and the tele 
phone, but we have made some use of the electrical pen, 
and are rapidly developing the wireless telephone. Sci 
entifically it would be possible, even now, so to develop the 
wireless telephone that a speaker could be heard by every 
one in the United States at the same time. If we could 
project the images of those speaking, as we are hoping to 
do, we should have a very good hint of the possibilities of 
communication in a future state. With finer bodies, and 
finer instruments, and a better knowledge of nature s 
forces, it seems credible that we could see and hear our 
friends with but little regard to distance. There is no 
reason for putting limitations on the possibilities of na 
ture, even here on earth ; and much less reason for doing 
so in connection with the future state of existence. All 


the suggestions are in the opposite direction. The X-Ray 
enables us to see through solid bodies. Radium, which 
has no appearance of light, will affect a photographic 
plate through a foot of iron. Actinium, one of the radio 
active substances, is said to have a chemical activity 
which is about a thousand million times swifter than that 
of radium. And the discovery of new rays is getting to 
be a common occurrence. Everywhere, nature is sug 
gesting heretofore unheard of possibilities; it is apparently 
vindicating what we have been saying, that nature is of 
God, and that we are enfolded in His energies for the 
purpose of using them. Nature, that proceeds from God, 
is doubtless as exhaustless as God Himself. There are 
no indications that it will ever fail His children as they 
move on and out into largeness of life and richness of 

We little children on earth, as previously illustrated, 
are in quest of omnipresence; and we are slowly achiev 
ing it by progressively taking on the universe as our 
augmented bodies. Then how much more rapidly may 
we realize this process of enlargement under the new con 
ditions to which we are going? Not only shall we have 
finer bodies, but we shall be in company with those who 
for thousands of years have been learning the secrets of 
God and His universe. Our increased knowledge of the 
world in which we live does not raise new barriers be 
tween citizens of heaven, but suggests a thousand rational 
modes of contact inconceivable a hundred years ago. 
Every day I am more amazed at the way the natural 


sciences assist Christian faith. Yet this is as it should 
be if all things come from God. 

6. Shall we see God? 

Certainly not as a ghost ; but we shall see Him in the 
face of Jesus. We shall likewise see Him in our loved 
ones. Since all bodies are primarily God s, we shall see 
Him in every face, when the purified souls of His children 
permit Him to come into possession of His own. 

One glorious evening in the springtime, I sat in the 
gloaming with my father by the roadside. From an 
exceedingly hard day s work we were " dead tired." 
Yet for our healing, the air was filled with the scent of 
newly turned turf and the fragrance of blossoms. A 
large drove of swine was crunching the corn which we 
had just provided them. The woods, beginning at the 
other side of the road from which we sat, extended into 
the deep valley. From the dark shadow of the woods 
rose the incessant din of the whippoor wills. As we sat 
there, feeling a thousand influences from the sweet mys 
tery of it all, my father turned to me and said : 

" I know you are very tired; we have really worked 
too hard, but the debts must be paid. I want you to 
know that I appreciate what you are doing. You have 
been a good boy, and I have confidence in you. It will 
not be long until I am gone. But what a satisfaction it 
is to feel that you will be a good Christian man accom 
plishing in the world, when I am gone, things which I 


have not been able to do." As the golden glow of a late 
evening sky fell across his face, it mingled with the light 
from his soul and clearly revealed the Eternal. God had 
looked into my soul through that face, and I had looked 
into the heart of God no less than into the heart of my 
father. Yes, he has been gone many years, and I am 
here fighting the good fight, but oh my heart, what shall I 
see when next I look upon his face ! 

We may depend upon it, the invisible soul of God and 
the invisible souls of His children shall become visible 
through their bodies, through their activities, and through 
their institutions which are in common. Their spirits 
shall likewise become audible through music and speech. 
Our Father in heaven differs from our God on earth only 
in this : On earth there is so little to express Him, while 
in heaven there is so much. God truly has a throne in 
heaven, but the great white throne is the pure and loyal 
hearts of His children. 

7. Will there be burdens to bear in heaven ? 

Heaven will not be too " soft " for our good. There 
is much bad work to be righted, and unfinished work to 
be completed. We shall have glorious tasks to perform, 
and splendid problems with which to grapple. Sharing 
God s purposes as well as His joys, we shall still be dis 
covering the mind of God, and getting a firmer grasp 
upon His laws and forces; we shall still be organizing 
nature and society into a more glorious kingdom of love, 


beauty and power. We shall be making the ideal real, 
and the unseen visible. We shall accept God s will in 
our souls. We shall accept His will in the forces of 
nature, and make His instruments more vocal and more 
radiant as time rolls on in eternity. 



If the Bible contains errors,, how do we know that any of it 
is true? 


As this volume is designed to be a simple guide in the 
deeper and more perplexing problems of religion, it would 
be incomplete without a brief consideration of how God 
has revealed Himself through the Scriptures. In the 
selection of material and in the method pursued, the au 
thor has been guided solely by what he considers the saf 
est approach to the Scriptures and the best " first aid " 
for wounded Christians. 

" In my opinion, the Bible is just about one-half true." 
This was the quiet and serious remark of a young 
woman who had recently taken a Bible course in college. 
Like many others, she was judging the Bible simply as a 
work of history, literature, and science. Its progressive 
revelation of religion she had largely overlooked. The 
Bible is not properly appreciated, even as literature, with 
out taking into account its main purpose; namely, to 
teach religion, and not to write infallible history nor in 
fallible science. The biblical writers undertook to set 



forth, in a perfectly human way, the religious ideas and 
sentiments that God awakened in their souls. Through 
succeeding centuries these truths grew clearer and more 
comprehensive until they culminated in the life and teach 
ings of Jesus. The most elevated religious ideas and 
ideals found in the Scriptures constitute, in my opinion, the 
absolute and universal religion. Ideas and ideals superior 
to these are not known to man. That anything could 
surpass them, I cannot conceive. To convey these in 
spired truths to the world, the writers wisely made use 
of poetry, fiction, tradition, history, and physical phe 
nomena ; they conveyed the divine treasure to us in earthen 
vessels; and though the vessels are beautiful, yet they 
bear the marks of human imperfection. We all know 
that an illustration may clearly illustrate without its own 
truth being verified. 

Our young college friend had lost the Bible of her 
childhood but, unfortunately, had not found the larger 
and better Bible easily within her reach if only she had 

As already intimated, even the religion of the Bible 
was not fully revealed at once. Certain crude ideas 
lingered until they were pushed aside by a fuller revela 

To be able to follow the inspired truths from their 
beginnings in the Scriptures until they appear full-orbed 
in Jesus is of very great value. Their full worth first 
appears when we know all the vicissitudes through which 
they passed while struggling for a place in the sinful, 


stupid lives of men. The history of a truth is just as 
important as the history of a man; and fortunately the 
Bible furnishes a fair human history of every great re 
ligious truth. As the streaks of morning light grow 
brighter and brighter unto the rising of the sun, so the 
rays of God s light shine through the Scriptures more 
and more until the Christ appears. 

As a progressive, trustworthy, and indispensable revela 
tion of religion, the Old and New Testaments cannot be 
too highly appraised ; but as books of science and history, 
they are sometimes overestimated. To believe that its 
religious value is destroyed if the Bible contains errors in 
history and science, is a position as dangerous as it is 
false. We theorize about the Scriptures more than we 
study them. Even in ministers meetings, I have listened 
without profit to many heated discussions on the subject of 
inspiration. The discussions were worthless because they 
had nothing to do with the facts of the Bible. We might 
as well claim that the casket is a jewel because it contains 
a jewel, as to claim that the literary forms of the Bible 
are a revelation because they contain a revelation. It 
would be as sensible to affirm that the whole mountain 
is gold, as to declare that the human element of the Bible 
is infallible. Yet no one turns away from a rich gold 
mine because the whole mountain is not gold; neither 
does he fear that the precious metal may not be distin 
guishable from the rocks, else it would be of no more 
value than the rocks. If God had made one mountain of 
pure gold, it would have saved much trouble in mining; 


but He did not give us gold in that way. He mixed the 
precious metal with common elements, and He mingled 
His truth with human thoughts and human institutions. 
All things considered, both religious truth and gold are 
more valuable for having been given in the manner they 
were. To deny the facts, or to quarrel with them, does 
no good. The sensible thing for us to do is to seek the 
gold and the truth with all our might; for if we seek we 
shall find. If one is careless, he may mistake " fools 
gold " for the real. But, fortunately, there are ample 
means for testing both gold and religion. 

How shall we find the treasure that is in the Bible? 
In the same way that we find the treasure in the moun 
tain; by using our intelligence and strength in company 
with those who know most about it. Our prospects for 
finding God s word are good; because His word will find 
us if we are entirely sincere. If a person studies his 
Bible with the help of competent teachers, and at the 
same time keeps his heart wide open toward God, the 
great verities of the Scriptures will surely find him; and 
they will find him deeply ; they will find him so deeply that 
he will be thrown into the dust of humility and, at the 
same time, lifted to the sky of hope. Yet who pretends 
to have found all the truth there is in the Bible? We 
can only find that which finds us. If we wish the Word 
of God to find us more deeply we must give it a better 

" Then the Bible is only for the learned," someone 
will say. No, the least educated mind can readily grasp 


the most essential facts of religion as set forth in the 
Scriptures, and as expounded by a consecrated ministry. 
He can likewise hold to these facts with deep feeling and 
true devotion. If one is ignorant of science he is not 
troubled by unscientific statements. Whereas, the edu 
cated man is greatly distressed if told that he must either 
believe statements which he knows are not true, or else 
throw all religion overboard. If the Church tries to 
carry all the ignorance and all the trumpery of the ages 
as a part of her precious message she will break down 
under the load. Multitudes will turn from her with 
scorn. It is a sin against God and the human soul to 
make claims for the Bible that are manifestly not true. 
The Bible is so good that we do not need to lie for it; 
the light that shines through the Scriptures is able to 
make " wise unto salvation." Having found the great 
pearl that is in the Scriptures, one will experience the 
joy of being rich; and when he is once rich, he will not 
readily part with his wealth. Besides, other rich souls 
will bear testimony to the intrinsic value of his treasure ; 
and best of all, God will bear witness with his spirit that 
he is not deceived. 

The reader may ask, " Is it possible to find in the Bible 
that which nothing could induce us to relinquish, some 
thing more precious than life itself?" 

It is my testimony that we can. The religious truth 
of the Bible, having completely conquered my reason, 
commands my conscience. Its supreme message fits my 
soul as a glove fits a hand. The best that the Scriptures 


teach, I find myself thinking. And I cannot avoid think- 
ing the same without being a traitor to my own soul. 
Though I cannot believe every statement in the Bible, yet 
I think I should be committing mental and moral suicide 
if I did not believe and practice the essential teachings 
of the Scriptures; especially the matchless teachings of 
Jesus. Moreover, if one believes and practices the best 
there is in the Bible he will be a Christian whom the 
Master delights to own. 

Important as our discussion thus far may be, it is not 
the main thing; it is simply our attitude toward the 
Scriptures, and not the truth which they proclaim. It is 
one more appeal for a rational religion without stating 
what the rational religion is. This generation has had 
altogether too much of that kind of exhortation. If we 
would but tell the good Christian people what the rational 
religion is, possibly we should not need to exhort them 
to accept it. 

How may one find the Word of God, contained in the 
Scriptures ? The method illustrated 

i. The story of Creation 

What message of permanent religious value is there in 
the story of creation? 

In the story of creation, one thing stands out clear and 
distinct. The universe is God s loving wish. Creation 
is God s will going forth. God simply said, Let it be, 
and it was. So far as Christian scholarship has yet ad- 


vanced, it does not realize how a thought more funda 
mental, spiritual, and moulding could enter the mind of 
man. That a loving God wills the universe, is the great 
diapason note in the hymn of creation. And the next 
great note is that of Divine appreciation, " God saw that 
it was good." Then follows the note of blessing. And, 
finally, the child bearing God s image is made lord over all. 
These four epoch-making truths constitute the imperish 
able word of God. 

These four truths represent the sum and substance of 
all I have been trying to elucidate throughout this book. 
Slowly, but surely, modern philosophy and science are 
helping us to understand this superb affirmation of 
Genesis, uttered thousands of years ago. Not that phys 
ical science knows anything about God, but that the dis 
coveries of science make it easier for the intelligent Chris 
tian to believe that God willed, and continues to will, the 
universe. This idea of one good God causing and sus 
taining the universe by the mere fiat of His will, did for 
religion what the Copernican theory did for astronomy. 
As the Copernican theory made modern astronomy in 
evitable, so this view of God and His universe led un 
erringly to the Christian religion. And the Kingdom of 
God, in its vast sweep through eternity, will rest upon 
these fundamental facts so beautifully expressed in the 
first chapter of Genesis. That they were uttered so long 
ago, in a world of polytheism and low morals, fills the 
mind with wonder and praise. 

The writer of this story, however, did not have a scien- 


tific knowledge of the universe which, religiously and 
philosophically, he so perfectly related to God. But the 
religious value of the story is not injured in the least by 
the author s manifestly crude knowledge of astronomy 
and geology. In spite of all our advancement in science, 
since Bible times, our knowledge of the universe is still 
very crude. To learn all about nature scientifically will 
require eternity. It was the poetical, philosophical, and 
religious significance of the universe that the inspired 
writer discovered; science could abide its time. The 
writer of Genesis, like his contemporaries, regarded the 
earth as the center and main bulk of the universe. His 
universe was the child s universe, the universe of the un 
aided senses. On a very large scale the world, in his 
thought, was something like the old-fashioned cheese 
dish with a glass hemisphere over it. This huge covered 
dish floated in a universal sea. The glass cover, or 
firmament, kept the upper sea out except when its win 
dows were opened to let the sea through in the form of 
rain. The dish, or earth, kept the lower sea out except 
in time of great floods when, as they supposed, the sea 
worked its way up through crevices in the earth. The 
sun, moon, and stars were supposed to be inside the 

This ancient conception of the universe pervades the 
Scriptures. In the twenty- fourth Psalm we read, " The 
earth is the Lord s and the fulness thereof : for Thou hast 
founded it upon the seas and established it upon the 
floods." Religiously this is superb, but scientifically it 


is incorrect ; the earth does not rest on a sea. " The earth 
is the Lord s and the fulness thereof : " for Thou hast 
hurled it into space and lovingly marked out the way that 
it should go. 

The Babylonian bible, which is many centuries older 
than the Old Testament, says that Apsu and Tiamit first 
created the gods of order, or light. This corresponds to 
the first day in Genesis. But our author discards all 
these gods and goddesses when he tells us that " God said, 
Let there be light, and there was light." Whether light 
was the first act of creation or not, the best modern phil 
osophy would confirm the statement that light was the 
result of God s wish. Light energy is a mode of the 
divine Will. 

The Babylonian bible tells us that after Marduk had 
slain Tiamit in a great battle, he took his sword and 
cleaved her in two as you would a fish. With one half 
of her he made the firmament and fastened it to keep 
out the upper sea. This corresponds to the second day 
in Genesis. While the biblical writer does not change the 
Babylonian day, yet he has no use for the monstrous idea 
that the firmament was made out of one half of a goddess. 
According to our Bible, " God said, Let there be a firma 
ment, and it was so." Our author, as the narrative 
shows, in keeping with the crude science of his times, 
thought that the firmament separated the sea that was 
above the firmament from the sea that was below the 
firmament; and that the sea under the firmament covered 
all the earth until God gathered the waters under the 


firmament unto one place and caused the dry land to ap 
pear. But if we know anything at all, we know that there 
is no firmament. God could not have made a firmament, 
for there is none. He could not have made space on the 
second day because space is nothing. And according to 
the story itself, He made the sun, moon, and stars on the 
fourth day, the day after He had made grass and fruit 
trees. When, as a child, I thought that the apparent 
ceiling of the earth was the floor of heaven, my scientific 
ideas were no more crude than those of the writer who 
thought God made a firmament. But if there had been 
a firmament, as it appeared to the untrained senses, then 
it would have been made exactly as our inspired writer 
affirmed; and not after the ridiculous manner of the 
Babylonian bible. Our author s philosophy and religion 
in this case were perfect, but his science was wrong. So 
what is the use of trying to make out that the Bible 
always harmonizes with science, when it is absolutely cer 
tain that it does not? 

When in college I asked my professor in geology how 
the earth could exist and grow grass and fruit trees bear 
ing fruit before the sun was made. He replied that the 
sun, of course, was made previously, but that it did not 
appear until the fourth day when the vapor had settled by 
virtue of the earth s cooling. However, that would leave 
no creation for the fourth day; and besides, the second 
chapter of Genesis tells us that there was no vegetation 
yet because the Lord God had not caused it to rain. 
According to my professor s explanation it was too wet 


to see the sun, and according to the second chapter of 
Genesis it was too dry to grow grass. The biblical 
writers were not inspired to write science, but religion. 
And it is just as certain that they did not know much 
science as it is certain that they did know much religion. 
In this story of creation the writer took his crude, yet 
beautiful, little world and lifted it up into such perfect 
relation to the Infinite Creative Will that no one has ever 
been able to improve upon it ; and the more we learn, the 
more certain it appears that we never shall be able to 
revise his statement of how the world is related to the 
Divine Will. Besides, the thought is so precious and so 
fruitful that we have no desire to change it. 

A message may be perfectly true while the material 
used to convey the message may be mixed with error. 
For instance, I once used an illustration in electricity to 
make plain a deep spiritual truth, and the evidences were 
unmistakable that my purpose was realized. However, 
on the way home my little son said, " Oh, papa, I was 
awfully ashamed of you to-day, you made a mistake in 
your electricity." Convinced that I was wrong I said, 
" It is too bad." Then he tried to comfort me by saying, 
" Oh, well, I don t suppose that more than two-thirds of 
the people knew the difference." Nothing could have 
been more true than the religious idea I was trying to 
elucidate. Those who did not notice my error in my 
electricity, in addition to getting the idea, thought the 
illustration a good one. And while those who did recog 
nize the mistake may have inwardly smiled, yet they too 


grasped my meaning equally well. Every one present 
knew that I was not trying to teach electricity, but re 
ligion. In like manner, while recognizing the crude 
science in the story of creation, we may adore the match 
less revelation of God in His relation to the universe. 

It is as if I had made something beautiful and inge 
nious for the people of darkest Africa. At first, they 
would be afraid of it. Not until they were persuaded 
that it was made in love would they come forward and 
cautiously lay their hands upon it. Then as their fear 
subsided and their appreciation increased they would ex 
claim, " And devils didn t make it, and it won t hurt us, 
and you made it for our good!" But after their first 
curiosity had been sufficiently satisfied, I would touch a 
spring and awaken new wonder by showing the invention 
to be different from what they had thought, and ten times 
more wonderful. And thus, at every new revelation of 
the gift, their mistaken views would be corrected, and 
their admiration and love for me would be increased. 
So, in the story of creation, God presented the world to 
His children by first telling them that devils did not make 
it, and that vicious gods do not infest it; but that it all 
proceeded from His will as a loving gift to them. 
Though they still thought the universe like that which 
their unaided senses reported to them, yet the thing of 
supreme importance was that the loving gift came from 
a good God who rules over all. Than this revelation, 
nothing could be truer, nor more calculated to put their 
hearts at rest from fear. It marked a complete transition 


from a polytheistic and immoral conception of the uni 
verse to a theistic and ethical conception. Through all 
the centuries that have followed, this new revelation of 
God in His relation to the universe has been arousing 
the noble ambition and commanding the loving obedience 
of men. As men have studied their good gift from God, 
a growing scientific knowledge has enabled them from 
time to time to unlock the mysteries of nature; and be 
hold, their good gift was not a snug little world floating 
in a sea, as they had thought, but a magnificent solar 
system flying through space, and pulsating in an infinite 
sea of ether ; and the supposed firmament was but a light 
effect on particles of dust in the atmosphere, caused by the 
light as it makes its journey of ninety-three million miles 
from the sun. And once more devout men exclaimed 
with awe, " Is this what the good God made for us by 
the mere fiat of His will? " That God said, " Let there 
be light: and there was light," was the affirmation of an 
inspired man who little realized that light travels the dis 
tance of eight times around the earth in one second, and 
yet requires more than four years at that speed to come 
from the nearest star. Thus science may forever change 
our conception of the world, and our sense of the Cre 
ator s majesty. 

Someone may say, " Is not this upsetting our old 
Bible? " I think it is. But when a friend expostulated, 
" Pat, don t you know that your stone wall will upset if 
you build it on that swampy ground? " Pat s reply was, 
" Faith, it is two feet high and three feet wide, and if 


it upsets it will be a foot higher than it was before." It 
is but truth to say that our old Bible is two or three times 
higher than it was before modern learning upset it; and 
may scholars keep on upsetting it as long as they can make 
God s word stand out clear and strong above all human 
learning and bigotry and superstition. 

2. The story of the garden 

When I was a boy, nearly every one grew gourds on 
his picket fence. And at almost every well there hung 
a gourd dipper. How many cool and refreshing draughts 
of water I have taken from gourd dippers I dare not say ; 
but the memory is precious, and I should be delighted 
to repeat the experience now. No one, however, was ever 
foolish enough to tell us that after drinking the water we 
must eat the gourd. Now, the Bible is just full of gourd 
dippers from one end to the other, and for this I am 

Let me present one of these gourd dippers. It is the 
story of the Garden. Here is refreshing and life-sus 
taining water. It is not in a well, but in a spring that 
bubbles clear up to the surface. You need neither rope 
nor bucket, nothing but the gourd ; and a child may 
help himself. This story is a bit of inspired genius, if 
ever there was any. My library contains great fat books 
on ethics, yet I never knew half a dozen men or women 
in my parishes who had the grit or grace to read one of 
them through. The mental discipline in reading them is 


good for ministers, though the conclusions arrived at in 
these books are identical with the teachings in this simple 
story. If the methods of these writers on ethics had been 
adopted by the biblical writers, very few people would be 
any the wiser for the Bible. But, from the dear old 
gourd a child may drink with ease and satisfaction. 

This beautiful allegory was true to fact when it put 
Adam and Eve in a garden. Human beings can live 
only in a garden; they must have a base of supply in the 
products of the soil. But what about the forbidden fruit? 
As a child, I did think it too bad that the Lord put the 
forbidden fruit in the garden when He must have known 
that it would cause no end of trouble. However, when 
I became a man I realized that even God could not make 
a garden that was fit to live in, without its having for 
bidden fruit in it. The grave is the only place where 
there is no forbidden fruit. Recently I spent ten days 
in our Capital City. And it is a beautiful garden, with 
many things " good for food " and " pleasant to the 
eyes." During the ten days, Washington was my garden ; 
and the other occupants there made me feel that I was 
very welcome. But did not they and I know that there 
were at least a dozen kinds of forbidden fruit that I 
might not partake of without running the risk of being 
tarred and feathered? Forbidden fruit is not bad fruit, 
it is fruit that belongs to some one else, or to us at some 
future time. It is all ours now, in a way; the wealth, 
the beauty, and the people are ours within certain limits ; 
and it is this that makes our lives worth living. When, 


however, we begin to break up families, or to take any 
thing that belongs exclusively to others, we have eaten 
the forbidden fruit, and the curse is upon us. " In 
the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." This 
is the infallible word of God, spoken to our first parents, 
to us, and to all mankind. Instead of haggling over the 
question of swallowing the gourd, we should preach this 
truth about forbidden fruit until offenders feel their 
hearts filled with holy fear and wholesome disgust. 

Though the story of the forbidden fruit is truly won 
derful, yet it is no more wonderful than that which makes 
the serpent the symbol of temptation. The serpent does 
not chase its prey like some bellowing hound, but silently 
awaits the victim s coming. As the serpent lies coiled 
in the midst of your flowers, so temptation lurks in the 
heart of some pleasant situation. You may be looking 
with legitimate pleasure upon some beautiful thing that 
belongs to your neighbor, and, before you are aware of 
it, the serpent of covetousness has struck its fangs into 
you. If, however, the temptation is seen before you are 
bitten by it, like a serpent, it makes strange circuitous 
routes as if it were coming and going from every side. 
It stops to parley. And if it succeeds in entwining itself 
about you, it crushes you with every part of its sinuous 
length. In countries that are infested with serpents, the 
reptiles go everywhere; they even hang from the rafters 
of dwellings. Just so, temptation may appear anywhere 
to surprise or to charm you. If you are as good as the 
Master, temptations will assail you. If like Lincoln you 


should climb from a hut to the White House, even there 
you will be confronted by serpents of monstrous size 
striving in every possible way to beguile you. He who 
advocates a walking and a talking snake, does so to the 
great detriment of God s word. We are in no danger 
from talking serpents; but we all are in great danger 
from serpent-like temptations. 

This parable and fable of the garden is meant for our 
edification and safety. As an analysis of temptation, sin, 
and punishment, for all people and for all times, nothing 
can surpass this story of the garden. Seeing that it 
contains such vital thrilling truth, it is a great pity that 
it has fallen into almost universal neglect. The story 
has been killed by the credulity of its friends. 

3. The Bible stories in general 

I now call your attention to the interesting stories 
scattered all through the Bible. The story of the Flood 
is an example. In a very simple form these stories were 
told long before they appeared in the Scriptures. And, 
doubtless, there was a nucleus of truth in them or they 
never would have been started on their rounds. As they 
were repeated about the campfires to children and illiter 
ate slaves for generation after generation, everything that 
failed to interest, naturally, was forgotten. This made 
them the most tried and interesting of stories. In noth 
ing did the inspired writers show greater wisdom than 
in making wings of these interesting tales to bear their 


spiritual messages afar. If the modern Church could 
learn the spiritual utility of a folk-story, the Bible would 
start on a new mission of service; and much of the Bible 
now neglected could be used with new power. The value 
of the lessons thus heralded in no wise rests upon the 
historic accuracy of the stories. It is perfectly evident 
that the story of the Flood involves the same crude con 
ception of the earth as that which we have already de 
scribed as the ancient and unscientific conception. If we 
contend for the literalness of this story we shall make its 
invaluable lessons of no effect for many people. The 
Tower of Babel is a like case. As a parable, it is a most 
accurate description of the folly this generation is in great 
danger of committing. Germany really built her Tower 
of Babel, and is to-day suffering from a confusion of 

4. The laws of Israel moral and ceremonial 

If we now turn to the laws of Israel, we shall find the 
same blending of the crude with the sublime. The ten 
commandments are the noblest possible prohibitions ; and 
they are still needed for many people in the old prohibitive 
form. Yet Jesus takes even these and transforms them 
into spiritual affirmations. He shows righteousness to be 
an inner principle, a state of heart. " On love hangs 
all the law and the prophets ; " motive is the soul of 

By carefully comparing the Old with the New Testa- 


ment we see that the law, moral and ceremonial, was a 
strong movement in the direction of Christ; but that, 
from the morals of Abraham and Moses to the morals of 
Jesus, the way was long and steep. We also see that the 
journey often deviates from a straight line, and that the 
road at times is almost obliterated by the drifting sands. 
It is, therefore, evident that one cannot select just any 
verse of the Bible and say behold! the perfect word of 
God. When Jacob reports to his wives that he has been 
able to cheat the father out of his flocks because the 
God of his father has been with him, neither Jesus nor 
the Christian conscience of to-day believes it. In the Old 
Testament times God was giving His chosen people as 
much of His law as they could understand. Sometimes 
the divine truth flashed out with great brightness ; at other 
times, it was much beclouded by ignorance and passion. 
However, all the light that shines so brightly in the life of 
Jesus, began shining, with varying degrees of luster, 
through the prophets and teachers of Israel. It is just 
because the Scriptures enable us to see the growth and 
the vicissitudes of God s advancing light in the souls of 
men that they are so valuable to us. For this reason we 
should study all the Scriptures more faithfully, and more 

The ceremonial law of Israel was their method of 
teaching reverence and purity. Though it strongly re 
sembled the ceremonial law of their Semitic neighbors, 
yet it was a more useful method of worship for Israel, 
at that time, than if it had been farther removed from 


the customary worship of the day. When the Israelites 
fell into idolatry, they worshiped the other gods in much 
the same way that they worshiped Jehovah; and not es 
sentially different from the manner in which the Canaan- 
ites worshiped their gods. But for enlightened peoples, 
this has long since ceased to be a useful method of wor 
ship. Slowly we are learning better methods; but we 
still have much to learn in the divine art of lifting men s 
souls to God. 

5. The book of Job 

Passing by a number of historical books we shall next 
make a brief study of Job. 

I once had an interesting conversation with a middle- 
aged minister who, though uneducated, was a perfect 
gentleman. His mind was filled with an elaborate and 
ingenious scheme of religion falsely drawn from Job, 
Daniel, Ezekiel, and Revelation. Tons of brain power 
had been consumed by those who developed the system. 
Yet a moderate amount of general information would 
have caused the entire system to fall in ashes. Ministers 
and Bible workers of this type still abound in astonishing 

In the conversation just referred to, the minister was 
wildly quoting from Job. At one point I remarked, 
" But what you are now quoting is not true." " What," 
said he, "don t you believe the Bible?" "Yes," I re 
plied, " but I do not believe that because, at the end of 


the book, God Himself says it is not true. Your motive 
is good, but it is a mistake to think that you can dive 
into the Scriptures at random like that, and find God s 

We must remember that the book of Job is a dramatic 
poem, cast in the form of a dialogue. Whether or no 
suffering is a proof of guilt is the bone of contention 
between Job and his friends; and both positions cannot 
be true. 

The author staged this dialogue on the Ash-Mound, 
outside the village. After the loss of property and chil 
dren, Job, all covered with boils, takes a potsherd with 
which to scrape himself and sits down upon the Ash- 
Mound. When the news of his misfortune reaches his 
three friends, they proceed forthwith to visit him. As 
these old sheiks approach Job, and find him changed be 
yond recognition, they lift up their voices and weep. 
They also tear off their mantles and sprinkle dust upon 
their heads. Seeing that Job is in deep distress, they 
seat themselves near him and remain there seven solid 
days and nights without ever speaking a word. Finally, 
Job opens his mouth and curses the day of his birth, in 
one of the most pessimistic poems ever recited. Even the 
comforters can scarcely believe their ears, so shocked are 
they at Job s blasphemy. Still, they retain a measure of 
sympathy, for Eliphaz asks with great delicacy : 

"If one assays to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? 
But who can withhold himself from speaking ? " 


You remember, Job, how you instructed others when 
they were weak and afflicted. " Recall, I pray thee, who 
ever perished, being innocent?" Now be a man, take 
your own medicine, repent of your sins, and God will 
return your prosperity. But Job only pours out his grief 
in fresh torrents. This causes Bildad to respond with 
alacrity : 

"How long wilt thou speak these things? 
And how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a mighty 

Nevertheless, in spite of Bildad s lengthy rebuke, Job 
continues to pour out his complaint until Zophar can stand 
it no longer. 

" Should not the multitude of words be answered? 
You are too full of talk for a righteous man. Your 
boasting will not silence us. For your mockery we shall 
make you ashamed." And when Zophar had finished his 
vehement reproach, Job was mad. 

" No doubt but ye are the people, 
And wisdom shall die with you." 

Thus the argument went back and forth with crimina 
tions and recriminations, until Job and his friends were 

While the discussion was raging, there came along a 
young theologian who, being attracted by the discussion, 
remained to hear it through. It turned out that the 
speeches of both Job and his friends were to him equally 


disgusting. So he decided to wait and set them all right 
by his superior wisdom. Though this young man was 
filled with wrath at what he heard, yet he respectfully 
waited until the old men had finished. Then he reminded 
them that it was his respect for age that had kept him 
still until now. Having expressed his surprise at not 
finding wisdom associated with years, he takes thirty- 
three lines to tell them how smart he is ; and assures them 
that they shall hear something worth while when he gets 
to speaking. Some years ago while reading this with 
my wife, I could scarcely wait until young Elihu got 
through boasting; I was thrilled with a desire to hear his 
new position. At last he began his argument. But, to 
my great surprise, I could see no difference between his 
position and that of Job s opponents; and as my wife 
could see no difference, I was convinced that there was 
none. Like Job s antagonists, he argued at great length 
and with much beauty that misfortune is a proof of 
guilt. Finally, however, he did add a suggestion. Mis 
fortune is a warning not to sin more, lest you suffer 
more. Of course none of the older men deigned to an 
swer this young upstart by so much as a word. 

The argument from all sources now being in, it was 
time for the artist to prepare a fitting scene for the ap 
proach of the Almighty. Consequently, the storm clouds 
gather and begin to drop rain. The lightning suddenly 
flashes to the ends of the earth. The quick crash of 
thunder makes the heart quake. It is such a time as 
when old leviathan churns the deep into white foam. 



And at last out of the awful whirlwind God speaks: 
" Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without 
knowledge? " 

Stand up, Job, and I will speak with you. Where were 
you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Have 
you walked in the recesses of the deep, have you seen the 
gates of death, does the morning come at your bidding, 
do you know the way of the lightning, do you cause the 
east wind to scatter over the earth? With all your wis 
dom, surely, you can answer. Job, " Canst thou bind the 
cluster of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? " Can 
you thunder, Job ? Can you send forth the lightning, can 
you draw out old leviathan with a fish hook? Gird up 
your loins like a man and answer me. 

Very meekly Job replies, " Lord, I have heard of you 
before with the hearing of the ears, but now that I see 
you with my eyes, I abhor myself in dust and ashes." 
He frankly admits that he has spoken concerning things 
too wonderful for him. That Job has talked like a fool, 
God concedes. Yet He assures Job that in his main con 
tention, he is right. Suffering is not a proof of guilt. 
Then turning to Job s miserable comforters, God informs 
them that He is angry because of all the falsehoods they 
have spoken. Go, therefore, and take seven bullocks and 
seven rams and offer a sacrifice, and my servant Job shall 
pray for you. And look sharp, " that I deal not with you 
after your folly ; for ye have not spoken of me the thing 
that is right, as my servant Job hath." 

After all this, how pitiful it was to see my old friend, 


the minister, building up a weird religion on hit-or-miss 
passages from Job. 

We all know that the wicked must suffer sooner or 
later, but the lesson of Job is that the innocent may suffer 
also. From this beautiful dramatic poem we learn that 
when the cause of suffering lies too deep for our knowl 
edge, we should trust the goodness of Him who is All- 
wise. The false belief, argued so vehemently by Job s 
comforters, still persisted in the days of Jesus; because 
they asked Him, " Who did sin, this man or his parents, 
that he was born blind?" And Jesus vindicated the 
position of Job by saying, " Neither did this man nor his 
parents sin." The greater pity is, that this false belief 
still persists to crush the hearts of many innocent suffer 
ers. A saintly parishioner of mine once said to me while 
wringing her hands : 

" Oh, what awful thing can I have done, that God has 
brought this affliction upon me? " I told her that she had 
done nothing, that she was a Dorcas among us, and that 
God loved her as we all did. And thus I comforted her 
from the teachings of Job, and from the words of Jesus. 
For three months, until she went home, she lay on a bed 
of pain in peace and trust. 



The method of finding God s Word in the Scriptures illus 

i. The Psalms 

For richness of spiritual content, for loftiness of ex 
pression, and for intimacy of communion with God, no 
other book in the world equals the Psalms. All devout 
souls have found the fullest expression of their inmost 
being in these inspired hymns. Like all true poetry the 
Psalms deal with the timeless. Eternal truths and death 
less passions flow through these beautiful, rhythmic lines 
like a majestic river. The world is infinitely richer for 
the Psalms. And though they often reveal mistaken ideas 
in astronomy, yet religiously and poetically the Psalms 
contain the finest possible conceptions of the material uni 
verse. Even the imprecatory utterances are not wholly 
immoral, nor altogether contrary to the teachings of 
Jesus ; for when they were deserved, He said things dread 
fully severe. But when a Psalmist goes so far as to say 
of his enemy, " Neither let there be any to have pity on 
his fatherless children," or " Happy shall he be, that tak- 
eth and dasheth thy little ones against the rock," he clearly 



manifests an evil spirit; a spirit that is at once contrary 
to his own religion, and utterly condemned by Jesus. 
However, when we consider the ruthless exploitation to 
which Israel was so long exposed, it is most remarkable 
that the Psalms contain so little of this evil note. Who 
ever approaches the Psalms in the spirit of the Master 
will find them fat with spiritual meat. 

Notwithstanding all, it is an indisputable fact that the 
best Christian hymns are superior to the poorest Hebrew 
Psalms. Take for example Dr. Gladden s hymn : 

" O Master, let me walk with Thee 
In lowly paths of service free; 
Tell me Thy secret, help me bear 
The strain of toil, the fret of care. 

" Help me the slow of heart to move 
By some clear, winning word of love; 
Teach me the wayward feet to stay, 
And guide them in the homeward way. 

" Teach me Thy patience ; still with Thee 
In closer, dearer company, 
In work that keeps faith sweet and strong, 
In trust that triumphs over wrong, 

" In hope that sends a shining ray 
Far down the future s broadening way, 
In peace that only Thou canst give, 
With Thee, O Master, let me live." 

Now, if any one should say that this hymn is inferior 
to the poorest Psalm, he would simply reveal a biased 


mind. And yet, a hundred Dr. Gladdens could not have 
produced the book of Psalms. The Psalms were not 
made to order but, like his hymn, grew out of peculiar 
experiences. The Hebrew Psalms were lived out, and 
suffered out, through the life of a people that had looked 
with straining eyes from many a Mount Pisgah, and had 
lifted a pitiful cry from many a valley of Hinnom. Such 
experiences get to the heart of things ; they offer the great 
prophetic opportunity for the noble souls through whom 
God determines the destiny of a people. 

What oratorical genius could invent a Gettysburg 
speech ? The necessary conditions for such a pronounce 
ment were four years of national anguish, a soil watered 
by the blood of her noblest sons, and a president bowed 
down with grief. Then, and only then, could a Mr. 
Lincoln rise in the midst of our hallowed dead and, all 
unconsciously, speak words immortal. 

In the long ago, our western prairies lifted by mighty 
volcanic forces were shattered, and twisted, and left with 
great frowning peaks and deep yawning chasms. As a 
result, great pockets of gold were deposited in their bosom 
for the enrichment of the world. In like manner, Israel 
passed through great national upheavals that resulted in 
many a precious deposit. And among these deposits were 
the Psalms that have never ceased to enrich human ex 

What the earth s crust is to the student of nature s 
forces, that the Scriptures are to the student of spiritual 


2. The Prophets in general 

If we now turn to the books of the prophets, we shall 
find a new type of Scripture. These spiritual giants were 
preeminently men of their own times, with a message for 
all times. 

Before the first of the prophets now under considera 
tion appeared, Israel had already passed through many 
centuries of deep and varied experience. First the North 
ern and then the Southern Kingdom became grossly idol 
atrous and wretchedly corrupt. Their ideals had degen 
erated into a mere cult, and their social institutions into 
a rigid system of oppression. Through dishonesty, op 
pression, and irreligion, the national life had so weak 
ened that its destruction was imminent from inward decay 
and outward attack. Israel was clearly missing her des 
tiny by forsaking God, oppressing the poor, and by tram 
pling underfoot her most sacred ideals. She was inviting 
the judgments of God by truly meriting them. 

Out of this deepening gloom, the lightning of God s 
wrath and the thunder of His purpose awakened certain 
sensitive souls to be prophets and seers in Israel. The 
realization of the nation s crime and danger transformed 
these prophets into the most fearless reformers the world 
had ever seen. As couriers with an important message 
from God, they went in hot haste to a rebellious and fool 
ish people. Because of the real and immediate danger 
these preachers were exceedingly intense. To save the 
day, they strove valiantly. If they were to be successful 


in their mission, both vision and oratorical gift were nec 
essary qualifications. Their keen knowledge of Israel s 
present made her future inevitable unless she repented 
of her sins. The prophets were not sent to proclaim any 
new religious truths in particular, but to be preachers and 
reformers of the highest order. 

Now, how different all this is from what I used to think. 

I once supposed that a prophecy was a pure miracle, a 
case in which God told the prophet, without any insight 
on the prophet s part, just what the future would be. It 
did not occur to me that the prophet had the slightest 
means of knowing the future which he predicted, except 
as God miraculously informed him. I also thought that 
God told the prophets what should be, so that, when it 
came to pass, it would prove the existence of God and 
the truth of revealed religion. To my understanding, 
prophecy was divine fortune-telling, designed to convince 
religious sceptics of a later day, rather than preaching, 
designed to save the sinners of that day. I did not real 
ize that the predictions were concerning events inevitable, 
for the most part, to any one not blinded by sin or igno 
rance. Nor did I realize that most of their thrilling proph 
ecies were made with the hope of bringing the people to 
repentance, in which happy event the predictions would 
not come true. 

A Hebrew prophet rarely used an if. That was under 
stood. He always hoped that his predictions of evil 
would not come true, because of the emphatic manner in 
which he declared they would. All orientals understood 


this, and it would greatly enhance the worth of Scrip 
tures if we understood it equally well. 

Too often, however, the evil prophecies did come to 
pass, because sinful Israel refused to hear. And for the 
same reason predictions of good often failed. Like true 
preachers and reformers, the prophets dealt largely in 
warnings and encouragements; hoping, thereby, to lead 
the people back to Him who loved them with an ever 
lasting love. 

" Do you think this war is a fulfillment of Bible proph 
ecy?" Yes, this war and every other war is a fulfill 
ment of Bible prophecies. Any prophecy that is true to 
fundamental principles, and true to human nature, goes 
right on being fulfilled over and over again. The dark 
prophecies recorded in the Scriptures will never cease be 
ing fulfilled until men no longer sin against God and one 
another. And when men cease sinning against God and 
their neighbors, the Bible prophecies of good will be re 
peatedly fulfilled throughout all the expanding growth 
of society. But the fanatical uses made of Bible prophecy 
in our day, by some well-meaning people, are enough to 
make angels weep. 

The great prophets had their hearts wide open toward 
the God they adored, toward the nation they loved, 
and toward the times they feared. They were tremen 
dously inspired of God, and regarded their lives of no ac 
count if only they could bring Israel back to God and 
save her from her enemies without, and her foes within. 
They were statesmen, seers, and lovers of God and men. 


Their souls burned with an unquenchable fire. They 
were the greatest preachers that the world has ever seen. 
To learn the historical setting is to enhance the value of 
their sermons many fold. And to study the prophet s 
method of impressing truth upon the oriental mind is 
a marvelous lesson in the art of persuasion. In their 
effort to save Israel, the prophets partly succeeded and 
partly failed. But their messages will live forever, and 
in this they succeeded beyond all precedent. They were 
firebrands to punish sin, and torches to enlighten the 

Their messages were simple : 

God is infinitely great and good. He loves you with 
a boundless passion, and pities you with an infinite com 
passion. But you have trampled on His mercies, you 
have spurned His approaches, you have jilted Him as 
a lover, and you show only contempt for His word. 
You tread down His poor, you rob widows and orphans, 
you take bribes, you pervert justice, you wallow in vice, 
you pamper yourselves with stolen delicacies, you mingle 
freely with the heathen, you copy their vices, you wor 
ship their vile gods, and make the land a stench. As a 
result, Israel languisheth : her poor cry for bread, her 
young men fall into the vices of their fathers, law and 
order are forgotten, and a loathsome decay is eating the 
very heart out of the nation. 

Your enemies are quick to see your nakedness and 
your weakness. Already, they are planning to move 
against you. And Jehovah is so weary and discouraged 


with you that He has about decided to use your mighty 
enemies as a scourge. He loves you so much that He 
must save you, at least a remnant of you, even if He 
has to use your cruel enemies to bring you back to your 
senses. Anyone who looks can see what is about to hap 
pen. If he listens he can hear the tramping of horses 
feet and the rumbling of chariot wheels. 

In true oriental imagery, these majestic prophets ap 
pealed to Israel s fear and pride and honor. There was 
no human passion overlooked, and no fundamental fact 
forgotten. They scolded, and wooed. They promised 
abundant good, or abundant evil. Their fund of illus 
trations was inexhaustible and, for the most part, ex 
ceedingly effective with the people of their day ; and many 
of their illustrations are still unsurpassed for beauty and 
power. Nevertheless, they sometimes allowed their 
imagination to run riot while devising, or adapting im 
agery that would attract the attention, and arouse the hopes 
and the fears of their hearers. A notable instance is 
that of the captive Ezekiel, when he tries to portray the 
glory and majesty of Jehovah by means of a monstrous 
flying machine. 

While Ezekiel s motive was good, his method was 
crude. He pictured a great cloud flashing fire as it rolled 
out of the north with a stormy wind. In the fiery cloud 
were living creatures, and each one had four faces and 
four wings. They also had calves feet that sparkled 
like brass. Besides having human hands under their 
wings these strange objects had a man s face, a lion s face, 


an eagle s face, and the face of an ox. Their general 
apearance was that of burning coals and flaming torches. 
Connected, somehow, with the cloud and these monstrous 
creatures were wheels resembling precious stones, and 
wheels within wheels. And the rims of the wheels were 
covered with eyes. The movement of this startling ap 
parition was direct, and very terrible; the noise of its 
wings was like great waters and the voice of the Almighty. 
Above this flying wonder was a canopy, and above the 
canopy a throne, from whence there proceeded a voice. 
Then he saw, as it were, glowing metal and the appear 
ance of a rainbow. This appalling chariot of Jehovah, 
and the awful majesty of God, threw Ezekiel upon his 
face. Then Jehovah said unto Ezekiel, " Son of man, 
stand upon thy feet and I will speak with thee." 

Now, we may be sure that the majesty of Jehovah is 
not less, but infinitely greater than this flying wonder. 
His glory, however, is decidedly different from this 
vision. Reverence and awe for the Almighty are sorely 
needed in every generation, and the effort to inspire them 
is a most worthy aim. There is no denying but this 
illustration is an awful picture; one that would thoroughly 
stupefy a child. But what should we think of a minister 
to-day who began his sermon with a similar description of 
the majesty and glory of God? However useful such 
imagery may have been to exiles in Babylonia more than 
two thousand years ago, it would be positively harmful 
to a modern congregation. 

Though this vision of Ezekiel is crude and very ex- 


treme, even for an ancient prophet of Israel, yet we have 
people to-day who invest these wheels, and eyes, and 
heads with symbolic meanings to bolster up a monstrous 
religion that is contrary to pretty much everything that 
Jesus taught. Out of the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, and 
Revelation, some well meaning but untaught souls can 
invent fifty-seven varieties of religion. But they can 
learn neither the lesson nor the danger of an undisciplined 

3. Jonah 

As I am simply giving a bird s-eye view of the Scrip 
tures, and the method of approaching them, possibly a 
few words should be said concerning Jonah. 

As a great missionary book for a people who were 
very unmissionary in spirit, Jonah is unique. It breathes 
the spirit of Christian missions in this twentieth century. 

The friends of the Bible have unwittingly made this 
great book a jest and a byword by their wretched inter 
pretation of it. Even as a little boy, I used to feel 
ashamed of certain portions of Jonah when read at fam 
ily prayers. For, as I understood it, there was some 
thing about the story uncanny and unreal. I knew that 
some people scoffed at the fish story. But that did not 
trouble me because I believed in miracles, and was much 
pleased that God did not let poor Jonah drown. It was the 
unnaturalness of Jonah himself that troubled me. And 
when it came to his experience with the gourd, I almost 
lost faith. When Jonah felt so angry and sorry that he 


wanted to die because a worm bit the gourd, my com 
mon sense revolted completely. I meditated over this 
incident a long time, and finally concluded that no little 
boy was ever such a fool as that. I had felt faint in the 
hot sun many times myself and had seen chinch bugs eat 
up whole fields of wheat, and yet I did not want to die. 
That a big man, and prophet of God, could give way to 
such hysterical feelings over a withering gourd was more 
than I could believe. This incident was a much greater 
shock to my faith than the fish story. Though I felt 
very wicked for doubting the Bible, yet I was heartily 
glad that a certain sceptical neighbor was not present to 
hear it, for I knew he would make fun of such a story. 
What a pity it is that a little boy should be compelled to 
experience such feelings about the Bible at family 
prayers, when a little rational explanation would make 
this book charming to him beyond expression. 

Though the book of Jonah is written in a curious 
oriental style that no man of to-day would wish to imi 
tate, yet its spirit, purpose, and subject matter would 
be very difficult to surpass. As a parable, it is true to 
the general history of Israel and to the spirit of Christian 
missions. It contains the vision of a missionary states 
man, and was meant to sting Israel to the quick for her 
bigotry and hardness of heart. 

Very briefly stated, it is something like this : 
The whining and almost contemptible prophet Jonah 
is Israel itself. Jonah is a caricature of Israel, and that 
is what made him seem unreal to me. Israel wanted the 


heathen killed, and not converted. And though she 
did not dare to disobey God outright, yet she gave God 
the slip at the first corner and embarked on the sea of 
politics. For a long time Israel had been as anxious to 
get into politics and form international relations as she 
had been determined not to be a missionary nation to 
her despised neighbors. So in this parable, Israel had 
not been long on the sea of politics when a great storm 
arose, it is ever so. And, as usual in politics, someone 
is thrown overboard. The great fish that swallowed 
Jonah was Assyria. Therefore it is not strange that 
Irsael offered a long and beautiful prayer in that kind 
of a fish s belly. Proud Israel, God s darling, in exile for 
her rebellion against Jehovah, could do no otherwise than 
offer up a prayer. 

" Out of the belly of Sheol cried I, 

And thou heardest my voice. 

For thou didst cast me into the depth, in the heart of the seas, 

And the flood was round about me; 

All thy waves and thy billows passed over me. 

And I said I am cast out before thine eyes; 

Yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. 

The waters compassed me about, even to the soul ; 

The weeds were wrapped about my head. 

"And Jehovah spake unto the fish, (Assyria) and it 
vomited out Jonah upon the dry land." And Israel re 
turned from captivity. Israel still showed an aversion 
for missionary work after her exile, but when God said 
" Go " a second time, Israel went. That is, she went in 


the parable. It is clear, from the sarcasm of the story, 
that Jonah enjoyed his message when he began crying, 
* Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." 
The parable reveals the faith of the author. He wished 
to convey the idea that the wicked heathen would repent 
more quickly than Israel if they had a herald to proclaim 
God s truth. Of course, a prophecy of destruction would 
not come true if the heathen repented. So God decided 
not to do what He said He would. 

"But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was 
angry." When Jonah, the typical Israelite, saw that his 
preaching had converted the heathen he was so mad that 
he wanted to die. I knew how kind-hearted you were 
toward repentant sinners, and that is the reason I tried 
to run off the first time. Now, God, just kill me; " for 
it is better for me to die than to live." Is this history? 
Yes, it is history in stinging sarcasm. How the Israelites 
must have writhed under such a portrayal of their faith 
less and godless hearts. But the author knew that it would 
take more than this to break their stubborn wills. So he 
proceeds with a few more sledge-hammer blows. 

" And Jehovah said, Doest thou well to be angry?" 
Now this gave Jonah a little hope that God might kill his 
despised neighbors even if they had bitterly repented and 
turned to the Lord for forgiveness. Accordingly, Jonah 
went out of the city and sat on the east side where he 
could see and gloat over the destruction of his converts, in 
case the Lord did intend to destroy them after all. In 
the meantime, Jonah made himself just as comfortable 


as possible by constructing a booth where he could sit in 
the shade. And our satirist causes God to add a little 
touch of comfort by causing a gourd " to come up over " 
His darling, " Jonah, that it might be a shade over his 
head, to deliver him from his evil case." 

Now, the contemptible Jonah had no business being 
there in the sun; he should have been at home helping 
his wife, if he had nothing else to do. But better still, 
he should have been in Nineveh rejoicing with the con 
verts who had been redeemed from destruction by his 

Note the fine sarcasm of our author, " So Jonah was 
exceedingly glad of the gourd." 

However, when the gourd was smitten by a worm, and 
the sultry wind blew, and the sun shone hot upon his 
head, our mean little Jonah again asked God to kill him. 
Now Jonah, " Doest thou well to be angry for the 
gourd? " " Yes, I do well to be angry even unto death." 
Were ever such words of irony spoken! O Israel, you 
are smitten with grief because of your poor little gourds, 
but don t you think you might have a little pity for all 
those innocent people who were so untaught morally that 
they did not know their right hand from their left? 

It would be well for us to remember that we, as well 
as ancient Israel, fret and fume over a lot of little noth 
ings. Little griefs and little deprivations vex us sorely. 
But while our brothers and sisters over much of the earth 
go naked and starved and diseased, we feel no pity. We 
are very tender-hearted over little things, we are deeply 


moved over some fictitious story; but for the appalling 
tragedies of dark continents and exploited peoples, our 
hearts are flint. 

Obviously, Israel understood only too well the biting 
sarcasm and bitter irony of Jonah s ringing satire. If 
the author of this parable could know that a generation 
has since risen, with so little historical and literary 
acumen as to believe that Jonah is literal history, I think 
his body would turn over in its grave. If he knew that 
he had set people to wrangling over the question of 
whether a fish could swallow a man, instead of sending 
them out as missionaries to all the Ninevehs of the earth, 
he would feel sorry that he ever wrote the book. 

When intelligently understood, there is no other liter 
ature extant that makes such a strong moral and reli 
gious appeal for social justice and political righteousness 
as the prophets. The writings of the great prophets of 
Israel constitute a practical sociology, founded on the 
Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; a 
sociology so enriched by a wealth of historical materials 
as to make it a treasure-house for all workers in social 

To save the ordinary Bible reader from confusion, I 
have purposely avoided all questions of origin and com 
posite character, along with many other interesting and 
useful facts concerning the Scriptures. This simple ap 
proach to the Scriptures is for the purpose of helping the 
average person to find the soul of the Bible. For it is 


the soul of the Bible, and not its incidental features, that 
enriches the soul of the reader. 

4. The New Testament in general 

In the New, as well as in the Old Testament, the letter 
kills while the spirit makes alive. 

As the historical and literary methods of study have 
imparted a new beauty and a new significance to the mes 
sages of the Old Testament, the same methods will, in 
like manner, affect the messages of the New Testament. 

The personal Christ is the soul of the New Testament. 
In Jesus, righteousness is more than a decalogue or a 
catalogue to be followed ; it is a character to be possessed. 
In Jesus, God is more than a Divinity to be obeyed; the 
Infinite Will is an indwelling Spirit, the soul of man s 
soul. While the Old Testament never recognizes God as 
dwelling in man, the New Testament takes the God of 
Israel and the righteousness of Israel and places them in 
human life; not as a theory, but as personal experience. 
This is the old righteousness and the old religion made 

When we say that Jesus is the soul of the New Testa 
ment, we have no reference to perplexing questions about 
how He came or how He went. We mean that the God- 
filled Jesus is the soul of all the New Testament teachings. 
The pure, strong Son of God is the lodestone of the Gos 
pels and the Epistles. It is He that draws honest souls 


into divine fellowship with the Father and His family. 
To see the character of Jesus in its most lovely aspects, 
and to feel His love that heals and transforms, is to 
receive the very best that the New Testament has to give. 
The perplexing questions of psychology, of tradition, 
of manuscripts, and of miracles are interesting enough 
for those who are equipped to study them; but all these 
are much less than the one essential thing. To know 
Him, and to feel the power that He can exercise over 
all that are attached to Him in love and service, is life 
eternal. Granting that the miracles are true, yet it is 
infinitely more difficult to be certain of the truth of a 
miracle than it is to be certain of the truth of the Chris 
tian religion. The Christian religion may be tested at 
first hand. We can taste and see that the Lord is good. 
By keeping company with Jesus, and walking in His foot 
steps, we are able to decide for ourselves whether we 
care for Him and His way of living. Though one were 
in utter doubt concerning everything else, if he saw in 
Jesus something so much to be desired that he was will 
ing to forsake all and follow Him, he would find him 
self in loving fellowship with the Father. " Whosoever 
will, let him come." And, " Whosoever cometh unto 
me, I will in no wise cast out." Though in doubt about 
every question of scholarship, the one who personally 
tests the life and teachings of Jesus from day to day is 
able to answer, " One thing I know, whereas I was blind, 
now I see." To find one s self sitting at the feet of 
Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, after living among 


the tombs as one mad for wealth or pleasure or popularity, 
is the last word in religion. 

Having thus blazed the straight path to God, let me 
urge it upon my readers that they take up the broader 
and deeper study of the New Testament literature as they 
have opportunity. For, in so doing they will broaden 
and deepen their lives, and better fit themselves to live 
in society as those who helpfully and intelligently serve. 

But some may say, " How are we to know that our 
religion is true unless we have some ancient, miraculous 

My answer is that in nothing does God so much de 
light, as in making Himself known to those who intel 
ligently receive Him in pure hearts. When God is here, 
even if it were possible, we do not need to prove His 
existence; we simply need to get acquainted with Him. 
Miracles may have been necessary in times past; if so, 
they served their purpose when they were needed. 
Since it is harder to verify an ancient miracle than it is 
to verify the presence of God in our own hearts, we 
cling to the greater certainty without being too dogmatic 
concerning the wonders reported in a primitive age. If 
one believes in miracles, no one can prove that he is 
wrong. If he is so constituted that he cannot believe in 
them, God will not turn him away if he follows the Master 
with his whole heart. If any one desires a richer as 
surance of God and His forgiveness, let him be a more 
intelligent and a better Christian; let him make a larger 
investment of himself in the service of God. I have 


nothing to say against miracles ; but I should like to testify 
that it has been possible to lead many to Christ by get 
ting them to become His disciples first, and then letting 
them have plenty of time to settle the question of mir 
acles as best they were able. 

Though I bring an indictment against myself, I must 
say, what we most need is a ministry with Apostolic faith 
and fervor. We need St. Pauls and St. Johns. We need 
leaders who can make God real and sin hateful. 

5. The book of Revelation 

Seeing that so many good Christians are perplexed by 
the apocalypses, we shall close this chapter with a brief 
study of the book of Revelation. 

The mystery that once shrouded the book of Revelation 
is gone. As Professor Porter says, " The historical 
method has, it is not too much to say, broken the seals. 
To the historical student these apocalypses have become, 
in their general character and chief messages, among the 
best instead of quite the least understood books of the 
canon. And their importance has grown with their 

The book of Revelation throws more light on the past 
than on the future. It has to do largely with a crisis in 
the early Christian Church, and not with the end of the 
world and the " constitution of the unseen universe." 

The probable date of the book is about ninety-three 
A. D. The great Christian leaders were gone, the 


heathen elements were entering the Church with their 
traditions and rites, and the Roman government was 
setting up emperor worship to strengthen the loyalty of 
diverse populations. The mandate that all should enter 
the temples of the emperor and worship him as divine 
was particularly hard on Jews and Christians who re 
fused to worship any but the one true God. The perse 
cutions that followed a refusal to worship the emperor, 
with all the other devitalizing influences mentioned, 
threatened the very existence of the Christian Church. 
It was to meet this crisis that the book of Revelation 
was written. And this accounts for the poetical and 
visionary style adopted by the author. Strong language 
was needed; something that would quicken the imagina 
tion and revive the fainting hearts of those who were 
growing cold and indifferent. Dynamite was needed. 
No gentle utterance would suffice. The writer realizes 
the awful conflict that is about to ensue between the 
gentle Lamb and His humble followers on the one side, 
and the great dragon, Rome, and his vile cohorts on the 
other. Somehow, the Christians must be convinced that 
the Lamb will finally triumph over the beast, or all is 
lost. After the sweet, simple letters of admonition and 
praise to the Churches, in which he pictures Christ among 
the candlesticks, the task of reassuring the persecuted fol 
lowers of Jesus must somehow be achieved. So he goes 
to his task as a fireman goes to the work of saving a 
building that is on fire. Ordinary means will utterly 
fail. He first looks to the heavens, and then to the most 


striking imagery of the Old Testament, and never re 
fuses a striking figure from any source that promises to 
serve his purpose. He gathers from far and near any 
thing that will startle and encourage. As the winds 
drive the clouds until their blackness terrifies, so he gives 
free rein to his own imagination while marshaling his 
material. He commands the heavenly trumpeters, and 
brings forth appalling horsemen riding in the heavens. 
He sees one-third of the sun, moon, and stars, smitten 
after the blast of a heavenly trumpet. He sees an angel 
open a pit from which belches forth smoke that darkens 
the whole heavens. Out of the smoke come forth locusts 
that look like horses prepared for war. They have 
golden crowns on their heads, and men s faces, and 
women s hair, and lion s teeth, and breastplates of iron. 
Their wings sound like chariots and many horses rush 
ing to war. And they have scorpions tails with stings, 
to sting the men that have not the seal of God on their 
foreheads. He assures the poor sufferers that sealed 
mysteries, and distresses, and woes await them; but that 
Christ shall be able to solve all mysteries, and that he will 
command all powers in heaven and earth to fight on their 
side until the old dragon, whose earthly embodiment is 
Rome, shall be cast into the sulphurous pit and sealed. 
Finally, in the most beautiful and poetical fashion he de 
clares that the battle shall be won, the clash of arms and 
the blare of trumpets shall cease, heaven and earth shall 
be cleared of their fierce combatants, and in that happy 
and peaceful hour the reward of the faithful shall ap- 


pear. Heaven shall descend on a new earth that is re 
deemed. The Lamb and His bride, the faithful Church, 
shall again be united. And this new heaven on earth 
shall be inexpressibly beautiful; the architecture shall be 
symmetrical, and richly adorned. The gates of the city 
shall be pearls, and the streets gold. The city shall not, 
as the old Jerusalem, be built of common stone; even 
the foundations shall be adorned with jasper, and sap 
phire, and chalcedony, and emerald, and sardonyx, and 
sardius, and chrysolite, and beryl, and topaz, and chryso- 
prase, the jacinth, and amethyst. There shall be a river, 
and trees bearing fruit for food and leaves for healing. 
All these things the writer assures them shall soon come 
to pass. In the great day of victory throngs of people 
shall be there, arrayed in white; all, both the living and 
the dead, who have washed their robes and made them 
white in the blood of the Lamb, shall be present. They 
shall be invited to the marriage of the Lamb, and to the 
wonderful feast that will follow. 

We are justified in believing that this poetical and 
highly imaginative portrayal of the conflict was very 
effective with the humble, illiterate, and sorely persecuted 
people who constituted the Christian Church at that time. 
They revived from their coldness, they turned their backs 
upon the insidious temptations and allurements of the 
heathen world, and went in armies to the martyr s death. 
Rome was conquered, but not in the way the author ex 
pected. Rome was conquered by being made Christian, 
at least nominally and politically. The histories that 


record the conflict between the Christians and Rome are 
not less blood-curdling than the book of Revelation. The 
conflict was frightful, only it was in terms of blood, and 
fire, and dungeon. If the ingenious and infernal methods 
of torture, invented by Rome, present a picture difficult 
to read, what must the reality have been to bear? We 
should never cease to thank God that these humble Chris 
tians were nerved for the conflict. The modern world 
owes these martyrs a debt of gratitude as high as the 
heavens and as deep as the seas. When we consider the 
people, the times, and the crisis, the book of Revelation 
was a means well suited to a noble end. Who can look 
upon such a scene, and witness such heroism, and read 
such desperate utterances rising out of the conflict as are 
recorded by the author of Revelation without wishing to 
be a better man, and a more loyal follower of the one 
who still stands among the candlesticks, His Churches. 
Sabatier has wisely said, " Apocalypses do not reveal to 
us the secrets of the divine providence, but do reveal the 
optimistic believing nature of the soul." 

During the recent war, many portions of our country 
were burnt over with the fanaticism that has sprung from 
a false and unhistorical interpretation of Revelation and 
other apocalyptic writings. 

The following extract from Professor Porter s book, 
" Daniel and Revelation," is of special interest : 

" The more theoretical or theological messages of the 
apocalypses it is evidently impossible for us to accept in 
any literal way as a message for our day. That which 


they claimed to do, namely, to unveil the heavenly world 
and the future age, they really did not do. We cannot 
accept their descriptions of heaven, of God s throne, or 
of the angels, their names and functions, as a revelation of 
hidden realities. They are at most figurative and imagi 
native representations or symbols of faith in God and a 
spiritual realm. We are interested in these things only, 
on the one side, for the imperishable faith and hope be 
hind them, and on the other for their place in the history 
of human speculation and fancy. . . . Although we can 
not receive their theoretical message, yet their practical 
message for their own time is a true message for all like 
times, and in a measure for all times alike. Religious 
faith in times of a dominating, aggressive, or insinuating 
worldliness needs to maintain itself by the assurance of 
the real dominion of the unseen world over the world 
of sense, and by the hope of some approaching manifesta 
tion of God, some open demonstration of the rule of 
justice and goodness. The apocalyptical temper is needed 
when religion is assailed and in danger; and in all times 
the religious life needs to maintain its purity and strength 
by some sort of protest against the world, some defiance 
of ruling ideals and customs, some faith in realities above 
those of sense, and in truths contrary to appearances. 
The greater apocalypses were inspired by a living faith 
in the ideal and an eager expectation of its coming into 
reality ; and faith in ideals which the world contradicts is 
too rare and precious a thing to be despised because its 
form is strange."